By Wanda Wiedman // @WandaW63
It was 31 years ago that a strange eerie fog rolled into Soldier Field in a critical NFC divisional playoff game between the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles. It was a beautiful brisk day in Chicago and clear skies. But there was a cloud of uncertainty between the two teams.
Eagles head Coach Buddy Ryan was going head-to-head against his former team, a team he had built a fierce defense with that dominated in 1985, resulting in a Super Bowl title.
In 1988, the Eagles had the worst pass defense in the league. This year the Eagles rank 30th in passing defense, while the Bears rank seventh. Back then head coach Mike Ditka said that “if we don’t beat ourselves we can win this game”. I would say that same statement would apply today for the Bears going into the playoffs this Sunday. But for the 88’ Eagles, that was the case as they could not score a touchdown due to penalties, including some that negated two touchdowns in the first half.
On that day, the Bears entered the playoffs with a 12-4 record , a mirror of the current record the Monsters of the Midway hold today. But 12 minutes into the second half the slow steady fog crept in like a scene out of a horror movie. The Bears were leading 17-6, when quarterback Randall Cunningham fires a 65 yard bomb to tight end Keith Jackson, stopping at the Bears 5 yard line.
The fog continued to roll in thicker as each minute passed creeping in so sinister as to thwart any pass plays from the Eagles. The Birds settle for another field goal. The view from the press box and the stands displayed moving shadows from across the field and despite the nuisance of the ominous cloud, the Bears managed to win 20-17 in a game that will forever be known as the Fog Bowl.
But the weather will be a little different in this Sunday’s matchup as the weather will be 40 degrees, cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain. The field conditions may not be that great, an issue that Eagle wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, stated in a recent interview from his time playing for the Chicago Bears. But home field advantage is what the Bears want.
Alshon Jeffery on the Bears’ secondary: “They’re playing football and they’ve gotten a lot of turnovers. They haven’t played the Eagles, though.”#PHIvsCHI
— Ed Benkin (@EdBenkin) January 2, 2019
Coach Matt Nagy will have to create his own fog screens to confuse the Eagles defense and put points on the board. But if QB Mitch Trubisky can take care of the ball, hit his targets and stay error free, the Bears have a chance to continue stacking wins on the road to towards the big dance.
To be honest, the only reason the Eagles slid into this match up was because of the Bears win against the Minnesota Vikings, gifting them a chance to make a Super Bowl run again. But don’t assume the Monsters will just lie down and get rolled on by some kind of Nick Foles magic.
No, the Bears have come to play with the foot is on the pedal on both sides of the ball. It will be an epic battle without a mysterious fog rolling in to save the day. In a bold prediction, the Bears win 27-19, including a 65-yard bomb by Trubisky to seal the deal!
Talk Bears with Wanda on Twitter // @WandaW63