clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Great Days In Bears History - Walter Payton Goes Wild


Going into week 10 of the 1977 NFL season the Chicago Bears were a paltry 4-5 and nowhere near the playoff picture.  The Bears would finish the season with a 6 game winning streak and go into the playoffs at 9-6 where they would lose to the Dallas Cowboys by a score of 37-7.  The second game of the win streak was on November 11th and was at Soldier Field.

This game would a history making game and was versus the Minnesota Vikings who had no idea what was about to happen to them.

Walter Payton ran over the Vikings to the tune of 275 yards, including a long of 58 yards setting a single game rushing record.  So dominant was Payton's performance the Bears only registered 23 passing yards.  The total surpassed the previous total set by OJ Simpson.

1977 was arguably Walter Payton's best season seeing him run for 1852 yards with 14 rushing TDs with an average rush per yard of 5.5.  This performance in no small part led to Payton being the youngest player in NFL history to win the MVP award.  Payton's total of 1852 was 8 yards more than the entire passing offense could muster that year.

Since then Payton's mark of 275 yards in a single game has been bested three times (Corey Dillion - 278 vs. Denver, Jamal Lewis - 295 vs. Cleveland, Adrian Peterson - 296 vs. San Diego), but if one wanted to make such an argument one could that Payton's is still the most impressive feat.  Gone are the days that a 100 yards per game and 1,000 yards per season are for elite running backs only.  Now that is considered average.

Based on this performance many thought Payton would also break OJ Simpson's single season mark of 2,003 yards, but an icy field and bad footing in the last game of the year in New York left Payton with just 47 yards and short of the mark.