One of the first visitors to offer the Bears congratulations was Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke. "You have a great team to represent Chicago and don't be too surprised if you beat the 49ers," he said, shaking hands with Coach Mike Ditka.

"They did a great job," Redskins running back John Riggins said of the Bears. "It was like two heavyweights slugging it out. As many opportunities as we had inside the 50 in the last quarter, we should have gotten points. But they outplayed us."

Although the Bears twice asked the referees to quiet the sellout crowd, Ditka said that problem was offset by the advantage of getting to play on grass. "I don't think it (being away) mattered to us because our guys like to play on the grass. It's fun to see those uniforms get dirty," he said.

The Redskins reported the following injuries: guard Ken Huff suffered a fractured fibula and strained ankle ligaments in his left leg; free safety Curtis Jordan suffered a fractured shoulder.

The Bears were welcomed by more than 300 fans when their plane touched down at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport last night.

"There was some doubts surrounding us going into the playoffs, but that is over now," linebacker Otis Wilson told reporters. "Now the whole world can see that we're a force to contend with."

After watching the Bears' blitzing defense in their 23-19 victory over Washington, 49ers Coach Bill Walsh said quarterback Joe Montana may have his most demanding game of the season against Chicago.

"It makes it so much more difficult to prepare for them because of their defense," Walsh said.

San Francisco had worked on the Bears' formations two weeks ago because of the possibility of meeting Chicago instead of the Giants in the first round of the playoffs. San Francisco and Chicago haven't met since 1983, when the Bears won, 13-3.