Eric Dickerson rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns today to win a personal duel with Walter Payton and lead the Los Angeles Rams to a 29-13 victory over the Chicago Bears.
Dickerson, who led the NFL in rushing last year as a rookie, boosted his 1984 league-leading total to 1,309 yards and became the first runner to gain more than 100 yards against the Bears in 12 games.
"Eric Dickerson had the best game I've ever seen him play," said an elated Coach John Robinson. "He was hit very hard on every play. It was like the volume was turned up."
Payton, the NFL's all-time leading rusher with 12,797 yards, carried 13 times for 60 yards and caught seven passes for 78 yards to become the Bears' all-time leading receiver with 361 catches, five more than Johnny Morris.
The victory kept the Rams (7-4) in good position for a wild-card playoff berth. Chicago (7-4) stayed in control of the NFC Central.
Dickerson, who had 51 yards at halftime, carried 28 times in the game. He scored on runs of four and one yard just 79 seconds apart in the fourth quarter.
The Rams trailed, 13-6, at halftime, but pulled within a point 5:06 into the third period on a 63-yard scoring pass from Jeff Kemp to Henry Ellard, who went up with defenders Mike Richardson and Todd Bell at the Chicago 18, wrestled the ball out of Richardson's hands and jogged into the end zone. Mike Lansford missed the conversion kick.
The Rams drove 95 yards on their next possession, Dickerson's one-yard run giving his team a 19-13 lead with 13:20 left.
On Chicago's next play, Matt Suhey fumbled when hit by Reggie Doss and the Rams' Gary Green recovered at the Bears' 19. Dickerson covered the 19 yards in two plays, boosting the Rams' lead to 26-13 with 12:01 remaining.
Rams linebacker George Andrews and strong safety Nolan Cromwell will undergo arthroscopic surgery Monday. Andrews injured his right knee a week ago, started today's game, but found that the knee still bothered him. Cromwell suffered an injury to his right knee in the opening quarter today.