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PRO FOOTBALL : Tomczak Turns His Dream Into a Reality : Backup's Late Touchdown Pass Gives Bears a 30-24 Win Over Vikings

December 07, 1987| From Times Wire Services

MINNEAPOLIS — Mike Tomczak turned a funny feeling into a winning feeling for the Chicago Bears.

"I had a funny feeling I'd have a part in this game," Tomczak said Sunday night after coming off the bench to throw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Dennis Gentry with 40 seconds remaining as the Bears (10-2) clinched their fourth straight NFC Central Division title with a 30-24 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. "I was dreaming about it."

Tomczak said starting quarterback Jim McMahon "came to me at halftime and said, 'Get ready, my hamstring hurts.' "

Leading 24-23, Minnesota (7-5) was stopped four times inside the two-yard line and failed to increase its lead with 4:57 remaining.

"Something's wrong when you can't go in when the game's on the line," Vikings offensive coordinator Bob Schnelker said. "I guess it means they're a better team than we are."

The teams traded punts, the last a 33-yarder by Minnesota's Greg Coleman, giving the Bears the ball at their 39 with 1:25 left.

Neal Anderson rushed for 20 yards on first down, and three plays later, Tomczak--who replaced McMahon with 11:01 to play--dumped the ball to Gentry, who evaded cornerback Wymon Henderson at the 35, faked safety Steve Freeman at the 20 and went the rest of the way untouched.

Bear Coach Mike Ditka said his team borrowed the play from the Dallas Cowboys, who had some success with it in a Thanksgiving Day loss to Minnesota.

"I have to admit that we got that off the Dallas film," Ditka said. "We don't run that play much, but we thought it could work."

Wade Wilson came off the bench to give Minnesota the lead with three touchdown passes, including bombs of 60 and 35 yards to Anthony Carter.

With Minnesota trailing, 20-7, in the third quarter, Wilson--who entered the game for the injured Tommy Kramer late in the first half--connected with Carter at midfield. Carter split Mike Richardson and Dave Duerson, broke Todd Bell's tackle, shed Richardson again at the 20, and tip-toed down the sideline to make it 20-14.

After the Bears had to punt, Wilson capped a six-play, 65-yard drive with his 35-yarder to Carter, who outleaped Bell and Vestee Jackson in the corner of the end zone for a 21-20 Minnesota lead.

Minnesota's Chuck Nelson and Chicago's Kevin Butler traded fourth-quarter field goals after the Vikings took the lead.

McMahon's 43-yard touchdown pass to Willie Gault and Butler's 23- and 26-yard field goals gave the Bears a 13-0 lead.

McMahon was intercepted late in the first half, and Kramer completed a 23-yard pass to Jim Gustafson down to the one. Kramer, however, hurt his arm on the play and was replaced by Wilson, who took his first snap and threw a one-yard touchdown pass to Allen Rice, making it 13-7 at halftime.

McMahon gave the Bears their 20-7 lead 1:52 into the third quarter with a 16-yard scoring pass to Gault.

Tomczak finished with 6 completions in 12 attempts for 96 yards. McMahon was 11 of 22 for 186 yards.

Kramer was 10 of 20 for 91 yards, while Wilson, who completed his first 7 passes for 133 yards, finished at 12 of 19 for 211 yards.

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