Raul Allegre, who had made all nine of his professional field goal attempts before missing a potential 45-yard game winner with three seconds left in regulation, kicked a 33-yarder with 10:09 left in overtime today as the Baltimore Colts defeated the Chicago Bears, 22-19, at Memorial Stadium.
The Bears, who trailed, 16-6, early in the fourth quarter, tied the game, 19-19, with 1:10 left in regulation as quarterback Vince Evans scrambled out of the pocket and ran eight yards for a touchdown. Bob Thomas converted the extra point.
Chicago (1-3) came back in the fourth quarter despite the absence of its most prominent offensive stars, halfback Walter Payton and quarterback Jim McMahon.
Payton carried three times for four yards before taking himself out with a strained muscle in the lower portion of his right leg. McMahon went out after linebacker Johnie Cooks hit him in the helmet from behind with a forearm midway through the third quarter.
Although McMahon could have returned, he did not, ending an eight-for-20 performance.
"The coach (Baltimore assistant Gunther Cunningham) said, 'The good guys always get a second chance,' " said Allegre, who is from Mexico and played three years at the University of Texas. "Before the game, I had a feeling it might come down to a field goal. Once we won the coin toss (preceding overtime), I thought it would. I was hoping."
The Colts (2-2) started the winning drive from their 30 following the kickoff. Quarterback Mike Pagel directed the 11-play drive, using more variety than in any drive during regulation.
He threw a 21-yard completion to tight end Matt Bouza to start the drive. On third and five at the Chicago 23, the Colts ran a trap play for Curtis Dickey that resulted in a first down at the 13.
The next two plays each lost a yard, and Coach Frank Kush decided to bring on Allegre on third down.
"I came to the sideline during the time out and they said we were going to kick," said Pagel, who wanted to use the extra down to go for a touchdown. "But then I looked and saw we were in the middle of the field and thought it was probably the right decision."
After a 37-yard field goal by Allegre put the Colts ahead, 16-6, on the second play of the fourth period, Evans, who threw back-to-back interceptions later in the period, threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Willie Gault (five receptions for 130 yards).
Thomas' extra point kick was wide right, however. The Colts came back on their next drive to take a 19-12 lead on Allegre's 47-yard field goal with 10:53 to go.
Evans took the Bears 68 yards on the tying drive, the big play a 28-yard reception by Emery Moorehead.
The best chance either team had in the scoreless first period came midway through the quarter. On third and eight from the Chicago nine, Pagel rolled right, then scrambled across to the left sideline. He could have run into the end zone, but decided to pass to Bernard Henry, who was open in the left corner. Pagel instead threw right to cornerback Leslie Frazier.
Kush conceded Payton's absence hurt the Bears, who entered the game with the No. 2 offense in the National Football Conference. But Payton thought it was better to have someone else in the lineup.
"I am fortunate to have been able to play in as many games as I have," said Payton, who said he first injured the leg last week against New Orleans. "I just felt at this time we had other people on the bench who could do better than me and that I just had to protect myself at this time."