GREEN BAY, WIS., SEPT. 16 -- Anthony Dilweg woke up from his magical, week-long dream this afternoon and saw four huge Chicago Bears defensive linemen staring him in the face. Few quarterbacks ever have had ruder awakenings.
As Dilweg went, so went the Green Bay Packers. In a word: down.
The Chicago defense was as fearsome as it has ever been on this chilly, 55-degree, November-like afternoon before a record crowd of 58,938 at Lambeau Field. The Bears won easily, 31-13, to move into the NFC Central lead with a 2-0 record. The Packers dropped to 1-1.
Dilweg, the Bethesda native and former Whitman High standout playing in place of ex-holdout Don Majkowski, was sacked six times and had two of the three Green Bay fumbles, leading to two Chicago touchdowns. He completed 14 of 28 passes for 149 yards and threw one interception before being replaced by Majkowski with 6:54 left in a lost cause.
Majkowski, who was cheered loudly as he ran onto the field, began with two incompletions from his end zone, then connected on eight of his next nine passes against the Chicago second-string defense before throwing an interception in the end zone to finish Green Bay's last drive.
It wasn't Dilweg's day, but it wasn't the Packers' day, either. In fact, what happened really wasn't Dilweg's fault. If anyone is pointing fingers, they should be directed at the porous Green Bay offensive line that rarely protected Dilweg.
"We hit him quite a bit," said Chicago defensive end Trace Armstrong, who had two sacks and caused one fumble. "He seemed pretty frustrated and started getting up a little slow."
"Dilweg did not have enough time in the pocket and at times he wasn't as accurate as he could have been," said Green Bay Coach Lindy Infante. "You cannot blame this loss on Anthony."
As far as who starts at quarterback next week for the Packers against Kansas City, Infante wouldn't say, but it is hard to believe it wouldn't be Majkowski, who makes $1.5 million to Dilweg's $165,000.
"I need time to look over the films and then I will make a decision," Infante said.
On the other sideline, Coach Mike Ditka's summer choice of Jim Harbaugh over Mike Tomczak has worked out marvelously. After throwing an interception on the Bears' first play, Harbaugh was nearly perfect. He completed 11 of 14 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns, one a 40-yard reception by Ron Morris in the third quarter, the other a 16-yard catch by Neal Anderson in the fourth.
Harbaugh also directed a running attack that gained 146 yards and scored two more touchdowns: a one-yard run by Anderson and a two-yard run by Harbaugh, both set up by Green Bay fumbles in the second quarter.
Had the Packers not made so many mistakes, the game undoubtedly would have been different. The Packers took the early lead, 7-0, after cornerback Jerry Holmes intercepted Harbaugh's pass and returned it to the Green Bay 37. From there, Dilweg led a masterful, 10-play drive in which he threw just three times (completing two) before running back Keith Woodside rambled the final 10 yards for the touchdown with 7:24 gone in the game.
After Kevin Butler hit a 41-yard field goal early in the second quarter to make the score, 7-3, the Green Bay mistakes began. Woodside fumbled after gaining a first down at his 29 and the Bears recovered. But the Packers defense held, forcing a Butler field goal attempt of 42 yards. The kick bounced off the left upright and was no good, but safety Jerry Woods was called for running into the kicker and Chicago had new life.
Four plays later, Anderson ran around right end with a pitchout from the 1 to put the Bears ahead, 10-7.
On the next play from scrimmage, Dilweg fumbled when defensive tackle William Perry enveloped right guard Keith Uecker and pulled Dilweg down in one massive swoop. Starting from the Packers' 14, the Bears scored in six plays when Harbaugh rolled into the end zone from two yards out, making it 17-7 with 1:34 left in the first half.
Dilweg swiftly led the Packers 46 yards to a 37-yard field goal by Chris Jacke before halftime, but he already knew the Packers had squandered too many chances.
"What's frustrating is that we had opportunities there," he said. "You see guys open downfield and it seems like such a feeble attempt when your arm gets hit and you can't get the ball to them."
Armstrong sacked Dilweg midway through the third quarter, forcing the fumble that led to Morris's 40-yard scoring catch down the left sideline and a 24-10 lead.
"It's easy to say you played well when you've got a defensive rush like we had," Ditka said.
Ironically, the Packers had their best field position of the game in the third quarter, starting their first drive on the 50 and their second -- the one that ended in the Dilweg fumble -- on the Chicago 44.
Dilweg played two more series -- one leading to a second 37-yard field goal from Jacke -- before he was replaced by Majkowski. Majkowski, the hero of the Packers' 10-6 1989 season, had been prowling the sidelines all game with a football in his hands.
"I wanted to play," he said. "I was chewing a hole through my lip. I love playing the Chicago game, especially at home."
Dilweg was booed when he ran onto the field for what turned out to be his last series, but, within seconds, cheers drowned out the boos as dozens of fans stood and applauded.
"I didn't even think about Don," Dilweg said. "I can't play scared. I wanted to finish the game. You always like to finish on a good note. I was disappointed to be taken out, but that's Lindy's decision."
When Majkowski went in, Dilweg joined the thousands of spectators who applauded him.