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From the Archive, 1993 - Brett Favre, Bears Player of the Week

Ah, the 90s. The Bears had finally parted ways with Mike Ditka, but core players from the '85 defense kept the Bears defense dangerous. In Week 14 of the '93 season, new head coach Dave Wannstedt set his sights on second-year starter Brett Favre and his division-leading Packers. Here's how Favre fared.

Ditka's moustache was better.
Ditka's moustache was better.

The Bears 1993 roster was an interesting blend of old and new. Defensive line stalwarts Richard Dent and Steve McMichael joined with newer additions Trace Armstrong and Chris Zorich to make a front four as dangerous as any in the league, and Pro Bowlers Mark Carrier and Donnell Woolford packed a dangerous one-two punch in the backfield. The Bears offense was lead '87 first-round pick QB Jim Harbaugh and '86 first-round pick RB Neal Anderson. The O wasn't much to write home about, but when Chicago played Bears football, sometime all they had to do was wait for the defense to do their job for them.

At least for one week, the Bears defense put on quite a show for the rest of their team and the hometown crowd.The Packers started with the ball, but found themselves quickly stymied by the ferocious pass rush of Mongo, Dent, and company. The Bears offense fared no better on their first outing, but once the Packers had the ball again, the scoring was about to begin.

Unfortunately for Packers head coach Mike Holmgren, the scoring was going to be done by the Bears defense. In true gunslinger style, the QB tried to thread one into tight coverage, but had it quickly picked off by linebacker Dante Jones. Jones was no speedster, but CB Jeremy Lincoln was. Dante quickly flipped him the ball, and 80 yards later, the Bears scored the opening points of the game.


Funny thing about the NFL in 1993 - no instant reply. While Lincoln clearly stepped out of bounds on his return, the Packers had no recourse other than to even score on the field. Favre would go on to do that on the next drive, finding his #1 WR Sterling Sharpe on a slant and letting him bowl over two Bears defenders into the end zone from there.

The Bears defense was getting penetration into the Packers backfield, but Green Bay was still able to move the ball with their nickle-and-dime, West Coast attack. Those nickles and dimes can add up to points on the board, and Favre did end up with 17 of those by the end of the game. On his next drive after the touchdown to Sharpe, however, he wasn't quite able to hold it all together - he wasn't even able to hold on to the ball.


That big yellow arrow at the end of the play? That's Favre stopping his pursuit of the loose football to complain to the referee that it should have been an incomplete pass. In this no-replay era, complaining wasn't going to get you very far. Mike Singletary replacement Dante Jones was able to scoop and score to finish off this play, completing his romp into the end zone with a Lambeau Leap - or is it a Halas Hop? - over a pathetic tackle attempt by #4.

Brett Favre had now personally accounted for 14 Bears points, but with the game 7-17 against him, he was able to clean up his game and knot the game at 17 a piece by the middle of the third quarter. Jim Harbaugh, whose day was just as bad as Favre's, was able to strike back by organizing two field goal generating drives. But as the old saw goes, however, field goals don't win games.

To win the game, you need a touchdown, and after the two teams traded punts, Favre found himself in the kind of moment that can define a quarterback's career: two minutes on the game clock, your team down by six, one timeout left, and the ball deep in your own territory. On the first play of this final drive, Favre must have seen visions of the crowds awaiting his glorious return to Green Bay, because he sure didn't see safety Mark Carrier running into the path of the pass.


This time around, the glory and the win went to Chicago. The Bears were tied with Green Bay for the division lead with three games remaining, but Chicago would go on to lose out and ended up watching the playoffs from the comfort of home. Still, there's nothing quite like the thrill of seeing Brett Favre throw a game-losing pass. I'm sure I'm not the only Bears fan who had some degree of respect for the team's long-time rival, but I would never let that respect get in the way of rooting for Green Bay failure.