CHICAGO, SEPT. 14 -- The Chicago Bears took a trip back to the future tonight. Their defense bloodied quarterback Phil Simms and battered him every which way, then displayed a new bombs-away offense that stunned the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, 34-19, here in rowdy Soldier Field.

The Bears had eight sacks, seven of them on Simms who twice had to leave the field. If it weren't for one touchdown scored by the special teams and another by the defense, the Giants would have been humiliated in the first game of their first title defense. As it was, their 12-game winning streak ended and the Bears -- at least for now -- reestablished themselves as the team to beat in the NFL.

Did anyone mention Jim McMahon? For the most part, the Bears didn't need him tonight. Third-year quarterback Mike Tomczak, who had perfect protection from his offensive line, did just fine overall. He did throw a couple of bad interceptions, but he completed eight consecutive passes in the third quarter, including touchdowns of 43 yards to rookie Ron Morris and 56 yards to Willie Gault.

For the night, Tomczak completed 20 of 34 passes for 292 yards and finished with his eighth victory in eight starts. He scored from the 1 just before halftime to give the Bears a 10-7 lead.

The Giants got a meaningless touchdown in the last period, a pass from Simms to Stacy Robinson, but looked discombobulated most of the night. It dropped passes, blew defensive assignments, nearly got Simms hurt, looked soft on special teams, and even missed two extra-point kick.

The Bears were so good in every way tonight that the almost incidental contributions of Walter Payton, 33, went almost unnoticed. The leading rusher in the history of the league, he looked every bit his age. He gained 42 yards in 18 carries and gave way much of the time to Neal Anderson, whose all-around excellence suggests there is a new offensive hero in Chicago.

But as usual with Bears victories, the story was defense. Simms, who completed 15 of 30 passes, must have hit the ground 10 times other than on sacks.

"It must have gotten Simms out of synch to see that kind of pass rush," Bears Coach Mike Ditka said. "I don't think he ever expected that."

Nor could the Giants have expected the Bears to score on so many big plays. The 43-yard pass to Morris, already the team's most reliable receiver, could have been intercepted. But he used his body to screen out Mark Collins, then snatched the ball at the 11 and took it in for the score and a 17-7 lead.

After Richard Dent slammed Simms to the ground with one hand to end another Giants series, Tomczak went to Gault on a fly pattern down the left sideline on first down. Gault easily beat cornerback Elvis Patterson and safety Terry Kinard for the score and 24-7.

"Patterson had been hurt earlier {cramps in his legs}," Ditka said, "so we thought we'd go up top to Willie."

Kinard did score on a 70-yard interception return for 24-13, but Dennis McKinnon reestablished the lead by returning a punt 94 yards to make it 31-13.

Three Giants, including linebacker Carl Banks, converged on McKinnon at the 35, but he somehow evaded all three and finished the longest punt return in Bears' history, breaking a 45-year-old record. McKinnon, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, hopped with joy.

So did the Bears' defense. The Bears' linemen and linebackers were screaming at the Giants: "Run my way, come on and run this way."

The Giants' all-pro running back, Joe Morris, probably didn't want to run toward any of them. He rushed 14 times for 54 yards, and sat on the bench for many plays during the second half after being squashed by William (The Refrigerator) Perry.

The Bears, with a lead, are almost impossible to beat, even for the Giants. But oddly, the Giants started off as if they were going to pound the Bears right into their own turf.

Recognizing that the Bears had a new long-snapper and a new punter making his first kick from the end zone, the Giants called an all-out rush. Erik Howard blocked the punt that Tom Flynn recovered for the game's first touchdown.

When the Bears failed on a fourth-down play near midfield, the Giants put together a nice drive before the Bears' defense finally pulled itself together and started blitzing Simms almost every down.

Giants Coach Bill Parcells said: "They beat us real good tonight. We didn't play well at all. It's obvious they did whatever they wanted to against us."

"Crazy things happened out there," Ditka said. "They had us really off balance at first. They looked like an awesome football team early."

But not for long. The Bears eventually won one of the hardest hitting games imaginable. "It was one of the hardest hitting football games I've ever been around," said Ditka, who as an alumnus of the Monsters of the Midway has been involved in a few himself.

Before long, the Giants couldn't pass, couldn't run, couldn't tackle or do much of anything else. "If we continue to play this way," Ditka said, "I think we'll meet them again somewhere down the road."