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Bears crushed Packers in memorable 1980 meeting

Posted Mar 5, 2013

Led by Walter Payton, Vince Evans and an inspired defense, the Bears destroyed the Packers 61-7 on Dec. 7, 1980 at Soldier Field, infuriating their arch rivals in the process.

Most Bears fans know all about their team's 73-0 rout of the Redskins in the 1940 NFL title game, Gale Sayers' six-touchdown performance against the 49ers in 1965 and the exploits of the 1985 Super Bowl champions. With that in mind, ChicagoBears.com will periodically feature other memorable moments that are a little more under the radar.

Led by Hall of Famer Walter Payton, quarterback Vince Evans and an inspired defense, the Bears destroyed the Packers 61-7 on Dec. 7, 1980 at Soldier Field, infuriating their arch rivals in the process.

Walter Payton played 13 illustrious seasons with the Bears, setting an all-time NFL record that has since been broken by rushing for 16,726 yards.
Payton rushed for 130 yards and three touchdowns, including a 14-yard scoring run that gave the Bears a 48-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. Sweetness was replaced by backup Willie McClendon, but later re-entered the game with the score 55-7, incurring Green Bay's wrath.

"When you see guys like [Payton] come back in with the score that lopsided, it kind of sticks in your mind," Packers cornerback Estus Hood said after the game. "Yeah, we'll remember it next time we play the Bears. What goes around comes around."

Payton insisted that it was nothing personal, telling reporters after the contest: "I'm a competitor. That's why I wanted to keep playing. I never like to come out."

Evans led the rout, completing 18 of 22 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns in only his 11th NFL start. It was the first time a Bears quarterback had thrown for more than 300 yards in 10 years and the only time since at least 1960 that a Bears player had compiled a perfect 158.3 passer rating.

Evans, who had been selected by the Bears in the sixth round of the 1977 draft, threw touchdown passes of four yards to Brian Baschnagel, nine yards to Robin Earl and 53 yards to Rickey Watts.

When Evans was replaced by backup Mike Phipps, the Bears didn't stop throwing the ball. Phipps passed just before the two-minute warning and again with 1:33 remaining, completing both for 20 yards.

In the book "Mudbaths & Bloodbaths: The Inside Story of the Bears-Packers Rivalry," Bears offensive lineman Dan Jiggetts recalled that Phipps changed the plays from runs to passes.

"We're in the huddle and the play comes in from the sideline to run the ball," Jiggetts said. "We're up by 50 points, but Phipps hadn't had a lot of opportunity to play. They're telling him to run the ball and he goes, 'I don't think so.' So he starts putting it back up in the air. It was a beautiful thing. Were we trying to rub it in? Absolutely. We wanted 70 points."

The Packers were also upset that Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan continued to call blitzes after Green Bay had inserted untested backup quarterback David Whitehurst with the score 48-7.

Angry about the excessive blitzing, Packers head coach Bart Starr confronted Bears counterpart Neill Armstrong after the game, refusing to shake his hand.

"If anything, [Starr's] anger should have been vented to his own players," former Bears safety Gary Fencik said in "Mudbaths & Bloodbaths." "I think when you walk on the field, you don't expect any favors from anyone."

The 61 points the Bears scored against the Packers remains tied for the most in a regular-season game in franchise history, and the 54-point differential is the team's second highest all-time, trailing only a 57-0 win over the Colts in Baltimore on Nov. 25, 1962.

Interestingly, the Bears had not scored an offensive touchdown in their three previous games against the Packers before erupting for eight in their 61-7 victory. The defense added a ninth TD on Len Walterscheid's 36-yard interception return in the fourth quarter.

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