The Chicago Bears' defense overwhelmed Archie Manning and the Minnesota Vikings with a club-record 11 sacks today in a 16-7 victory.
The Bears (6-3) solidified their hold on first in the NFC Central Division while the Vikings (2-7) lost their fifth straight.
Led by Otis Wilson, Steve McMichael, Al Harris and Richard Dent, the Bears sacked the 35-year-old Manning for losses totaling 101 yards. The 11 sacks were one short of the NFL record held by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Colts.
"It was a combination of a good rush and good coverage," Harris said. "When you have both working together, that makes the difference."
"When we got the lead and they had to go to the pass, that's when we started teeing off," McMichael said.
Jim McMahon passed the Bears into a 16-0 lead in the first half when the Bears made four sacks. They picked up the pace by downing Manning seven times in the second half including three straight sacks in one span.
That came in the fourth quarter when Manning finally left the game completely dazed. His substitute, Wade Wilson, passed for the Vikings' touchdown with 1:54 to play.
"It's a game I'd like to forget and fortunately I have forgotten most of it," Manning said. "I don't remember much in the fourth quarter. I hadn't played for a while. It was my pride that was hurt."
Manning, filling in for injured Tommy Kramer, never had a chance after the Bears scored touchdowns on their first two possessions.
Chicago Coach Mike Ditka credited the sacks to when "we started blitzing and we had tight coverage on the receivers. They got caught behind the eight ball and sometimes it rolls over you."
Chicago relied on a time-consuming ball control offense throughout the game, with NFC rushing leader Walter Payton gaining 54 yards on 22 carries to reach 1,001 yards for the season. That ties Franco Harris' career mark of eight 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
The Bears drove 61 and 71 yards for their touchdowns. But Ditka and McMahon were not satisfied with the offense in the second half.
"Sluggish," said Ditka.
Minnesota Coach Les Steckel called the Bears "the best team we've played to date. Their defense against the rush is tops in the league. We felt we could throw against them but we were wrong."