In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
With several members of the 1972 unbeaten team on the sidelines, the Miami Dolphins ends the hopes of the Chicago Bears posting a perfect season, with a 38-24 Monday Night Football win at the Orange Bowl. The Bears came into the game with a 12-0 record and were anticipating bigger things with the release of “The Super Bowl Shuffle” coming a day after the game. Instead, the Dolphins legends celebrated with the current team.
In the NFL’s playoff era, since 1933, only one team had completed a regular season and playoff run without a loss or a tie, and that was the 1972 Miami Dolphins, who won Super Bowl VII after a 14-0 regular season. The Chicago Bears recorded a 13-0 season in 1934 but lost the NFL Championship to the New York Giants. In 1942 the Bears went 11-0 but lost the NFL Championship to the Washington Redskins.
The 1985 Bears led by Mike Ditka looked to be heading for another unbeaten season, with an unstoppable defense. With a 12-0 record, the Bear entered their Monday Night game against the Dolphins, having won their last three games by a combined score of 124-3. Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins were among the NFL’s best offenses, with the arm of Dan Marino leading the way. After losing Super Bowl XIX, the Dolphins coached by Don Shula were again among the top teams in the AFC with a record of 8-4.
The Dolphins got off to a fast as Dan Marino connected with Nat Moore on a 33-yard touchdown pass. After the Bears tied the game on a Steve Fuller touchdown, Fuad Reveiz kicked a 47-yard field goal to give Miami a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. Ron Davenport scored early in the second quarter to extend the Dolphins lead to 17-7. Davenport added a second touchdown following a 30-yard Kevin Butler field goal to extend the lead to 24-10. Just before the half, Moore caught a second Marino touchdown pass to make it 31-10. The Bears began clawing their way back with a touchdown by Fuller in the third quarter, but Dan Marino answered with a 42-yard pass to Mark Clayton. The Bears would get a touchdown pass from Steve Fuller to Ken Margerum but would not get closer as the Dolphins won the game 38-24.
The loss to the Dolphins would be the only one the Bears would suffer on the way to finishing the season with a record of 15-1. The Dolphins, meanwhile, went on to finish the season with a record of 12-4. The playoffs would be complete domination for the Bears, who won two NFC playoff games against the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams by a combined 45-0 score. Meanwhile, the Dolphins made it to the AFC Championship Game but lost to the New England Patriots 31-14. In Super Bowl XX, the Bears would crush New England 46-10 in Super Bowl XX.