10 Most Memorable Chicago Bears Opening Day Victories

10 Most Memorable Chicago Bears Opening Day Victories
Even Casares got in on the action!

The Bears will open up against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, beginning their 92nd year in the National Football League.

Their first game, a 20-0 shutout of Moline Universal features no statistics, no film, nothing.  Unfortunately, it didn't crack our top 10 list. 

Since that day, the Bears have had numerous exciting openers.  At the bottom, we'll go over the top losses.

10. Chicago Bears 29, Indianapolis Colts 13 - 2008

After the disaster that was the 2007 season, Bears fans were not looking forward to opening the 2008 season at Indianapolis for the Colts' first game at LucasOil Stadium.  Quarterback play had been a disappointment the previous season, Cedric Benson was nowhere to be found, and the Bears' defense went to garbage.  For sure, Peyton Manning would dissect the Bears' defense as he did in Super Bowl XLI...

What happened on national television was the birth of Bears running back Matt Forte.  The rookie from Tulane sliced through the Colts defense for 123 yards rushing.  Manning was out of sync the whole game, and a blunder-filled fourth quarter finally did in the Colts.

9.  Chicago Bears 19, Detroit Lions 14 - 2010

As far as controversial endings go, this game takes the cake.  Calvin Johnson had seemingly won the game for the Lions with seconds remaining before officials stated that Johnson did not keep full possession for the entire play.  The Bears had no business winning the game, nor did they have any business winning 5 or 6 more of the 11 they won in 2010.  Sometimes, it's better to be lucky than good.  Lions fans have complained, as they should...however, stopping Matt Forte from getting 7 receptions for 151 yards and 2 touchdowns may have helped.  The Lions were up 14-3 early, and couldn't finish.  That should hurt Lions fans more.

8. Chicago Bears 27, Minnesota Vikings 24

The Bears were forced to play the 2002 season in Champaign due to renovations taking place at Soldier Field.  The Bears go used to their new surroundings at Memorial Stadium with a thrilling 27-24 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

Marty Booker played the best game of his career catching 8 passes for 198 yards and one touchdown.  It was Jim Miller who led the Bears to two late touchdowns...the final one being a 9 yard pass to David Terrell as time expired.

For a team coming off a 13-3 season in 2001, a 2-0 start by the Bears would give way to a 4-12 season.

7.  Chicago Bears 17, Green Bay Packers 0 - 1949

What's better than shutting out your arch rival on opening day?  Try shutting them out completely in the passing department.

The Bears dominated a weak post-war Packers squad by limiting Jug Girard and Stan Heath to 0 yards passing.  That's right, zero.  The Packers went a combined 0 for 13 with 4 interceptions.  The Packers were outgained 389 to 187.  The Packers turned the ball over 6 times.  It was arguably one of the most dominating performances by a defense in the entire rivalry.

6. Chicago Bears 27, Detroit Lions 24 - 1992

It was too bad that the high point for the 1992 Chicago Bears would come on opening day.  The Bears had limited Barry Sanders all afternoon to short yardage, but let Rodney Peete (yes, Rodney Peete) to chuck the ball all over the field...the only problem was that Peete was actually connecting this time.  The Bears had Sanders all the way until his famous 'six Bears try to tackle Sanders and he breaks free' play.  (A play they usually show on NFL Films 50 times a year)

With the Bears down 24-20, Jim Harbaugh rallied his troops down the field.  Harbaugh found Tom Waddle as time expired to send Soldier Field into complete delirium.  The Bears would start 4-3, before dropping 8 of their last 9; leading to the firing of Mike Ditka.

5. Chicago Bears 17, Pittsburgh Steelers 15 - 1971

The Bears played their first game in Soldier Field against an up and coming Steelers squad that featured a very raw Terry Bradshaw.  The Steelers got the best of a mediocre Bears team by running for 223 yards.  The Steelers led 15-3 in the fourth quarter and seemed to be well on their way to the first win of the season.  However, the Bears would rally for two late touchdowns.  The final being a touchdown pass from Kent Nix to George Farmer to win the game in the final seconds.  After this game, the Steelers of the seventies would make the playoffs every year from 72-79.  The Bears would win wild cards in 77 and 79.

4.  Chicago Bears 22, Dallas Cowboys 6 - 1996

The Cowboys had just polished off their third championship in four years with a 27-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The ever-increasingly arrogant Cowboys stepped into Soldier Field for their Monday Night opener, believing they would wax the Bears as they did every other pedestrian team.

Unfortunately for them, the Bears forced turnovers, made it impossible to run, and even made Aikman move too much in the pocket.  While it was a fun night in Chicago, most Bears fans will remember the game for what head coach Dave Wannstedt said after the game, "The pieces are all in place."  Only problem was the Bears would go 14-33 after that game, leading to the firing of Wannstedt in 1998.

3.  Chicago Bears 10, Green Bay Packers 3 - 1963

George Halas made an announcement to his team prior to the 1963 season stating that the only way they can win the championship is if they beat Green Bay twice.  The Bears got their wish in their first game to get halfway to their goal.

The Bears defense dominated the Packers limiting the Packers to an anemic 9 first downs, 73 yards passing, and 77 yards rushing.  The Packers turned the ball over 5 times against the NFL's number one defense in 1963.  The Bears would finish off the Packers at Wrigley later in the season en route to the NFL championship.

2. Chicago Bears 17, Green Bay Packers 14 - 1960

It's tough to top the Bears' 1960 home opener against that season's future Western Division champion Green Bay Packers.  The same Packers team that would get to the NFL Championship Game, blew a 14-0 fourth quarter lead to their arch rivals.

Willie Gallimore and Rick Casares ran over the Green Bay defense in the fourth quarter and started slowly chipping away at the defense.  The two combined for 152 yards rushing and two touchdowns, mostly in the fourth quarter, en route to the victory.  John Aveni kicked a 16 yard field goal in the waning seconds to give the Bears the victory.

1.  Chicago Bears 34, New York Giants 19 - 1987

Their has never been a more anticipated opening game before or since Super Bowl XXI 1/2 in 1987.  Monday Night Football had hit new levels.  The Bears and Giants were the top two teams in the league and they just happened to be from the top two football cities in the United States.  The two egomaniacal squads met each other for the first game of the '87 season.

Many on the Bears felt that due to their injury situation at quarterback in 1986 that they weren't able to win a championship.  In the opener, the Bears offense proved to the nation what they could do to the NFL's dominating Giants defense.  Mike Tomczack threw for 294 yards and two touchdowns.  Dennis McKinnon ended the night with one of the better punt returns in Monday Night history.  The victory was a big stepping stone to the Bears' fourth consecutive NFC Central division title.

Honorable Mention: 1940 - Chicago Bears 'Team of the 40's' starts the decade by beating the Green Bay Packers 'Team of the 30's' by a dominating score of 41-10.  Green Bay turned the ball over 9 times.  The Packers were the champions in 1939...and would win one championship in the 1940's (1944) while the Bears would go on to win four in the decade.

1988 - Chicago Bears 34, Miami Dolphins 7  The Bears shut down Dan Marino, getting revenge for his '85 beatdown of the 46 Defense.

2006 - Chicago Bears 26, Green Bay Packers 0  The Bears shut out their arch rivals

1942 - Chicago Bears 44, Green Bay Packers 28.  The Bears ran for 225 yards and the Packers threw for 233.  Don Hutson caught 8 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns, unheard of at the time.

1944 - tie game, Chicago Bears 21, Green Bay Packers 21

Tony Canadeo passed for only 55 yards in a terrible performance.  However, the '44 Champs used 37 of those yards to find Don Hutson for the game's tying score in the final seconds.


10. Dallas Cowboys 20, Chicago Bears 17 - 1973

They almost pulled it off!  The Cowboys had won the championship in '71, lost the NFC Title Game in '72, and were destined for greatness in '73.  However, the lowly Bears rallied back from a 17-3 fourth quarter deficit to tie the game...mostly thanks to a 59 yard punt return by Ike Hill.  But the Cowboys and veteran Roger Staubach drove downfield and Toni Fritsch kicked the winner for a 20-17 victory.

9. Green Bay Packers 17, Chicago Bears 0 - 1969

If anybody needed a preview of the horrendous 1969 season, this was the game to watch.  Jack Concannon was lost and so were the Bears.

8.  Green Bay Packers 21, Chicago Bears 17 - 1957

A bad Packers team beat the defending Western Division Champions in a game that featured 10 turnovers.  Although the game was sloppy, Gary Howton still hauled in 8 catches for 165 yards in the Packers victory.  A Babe Parilli pass to Gary Knaflec in the waning seconds gave the green the victory.

7.  Detroit Lions 48 , Chicago Bears 23 - 1954

With all due respect, the Detroit Lions were a powerhouse in the 1950s.  The Bears trailed the dominant Lions 24-23 entering the fourth quarter...that's when Doak happened.  Doak Walker scored 17 straight points to seal a Lions victory.  Walker would kick a field goal, return a punt, and rush...all for touchdowns.

6.  Baltimore Colts 35, Chicago Bears 7

I'm not sure there is a man in all of professional football more respected than Ted Marchibroda.  The Colts head master had his troops prepared to shut down the Bears.  Walter Payton, in his first NFL start, carried the ball 8 times for 0 yards.  The Bears only gained 74 yards via pass and 47 via rush.

5.  San Francisco 49ers 52, Chicago Bears 24 - 1965

It was much worse than what the score indicated.  The opening of the Butkus and Sayers era took a serious hit in this game. The Niners pounded the Bears to a 45-3 lead.  John Brodie toyed with the Bears' defense throwing for 4 touchdowns...the Bears, and Sayers, would avenge this game greatly later in the season at Wrigley.

4.  Pittsburgh Steelers 41, Chicago Bears 6 - 1967

The Steelers were pre Joe Greene, pre Terry Bradshaw, pre Chuck Noll...pre-everybody.  How the lowly Steelers stopped the Bears for 6 first downs, 6 turnovers, and 95 TOTAL yards is beyond me.  The Bears could only run for 16 yards.  The Steelers would finish as one of the worst teams, if not the worst of the first 50 years of the NFL.

3.  Minnesota Vikings 37, Chicago Bears 13 - 1961

What's more embarrassing than losing a game?  How about losing to a team that is playing its first game in franchise history? 

The newly minted Minnesota Vikings played their first game in franchise history at Metropolitain Stadium...and the Bears were lost from the start. Fran Tarkenton lit up the Bears for 4 touchdowns.

2. San Francisco 49ers 49, Chicago Bears 7

The Bears had 5 turnovers and 8 first downs.  127 total yards.  Worst modern day opening day performance ever.  (Post 85)

1.  Green Bay Packers 12, Chicago Bears 6 (OT)

Any older Bears fan knows where they were when Alan Page blocked Chester Marcol's kick on Opening Day 1980.  The ball deflected right back to Marcol who ran it into the end zone for the Packers victory.  The heartbreaking loss would be avenged in December with a 61-7 victory by Chicago.

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