"He was yelling at us to get our heads out of our butts," added Covert. "But that's normal."
Whatever it is that moves this oddball QB, it can't detract from his awesome talent. Sprinting to his left in the third quarter he connected with Gault on as pretty a post-flag pattern as you'll ever see. McMahon's feet left the ground as he whipped the ball across his body in a perfect spiral that Gault pulled in for a 22-yard touchdown. "You have to take your hat off to a pass like that," said Ram cornerback LeRoy Irvin, who was beaten on the play.
But who takes his hat off for the Bears? If you believe head coach Mike Ditka, it sure isn't the big, bad NFL, which, in Ditka's opinion, wants to squash the renegade Bears worse than Goliath ever wanted to squash David.
"There are teams that are fair-haired, and teams that are not," snarled Ditka earlier in the week. "There are teams named Smith and teams named Grabowski. The Rams are Smith. The Bears are Grabowski."
"I assume he used Grabowski because it's an ethnic name that maybe represents blue-collar, hard-working types," says Jim Grabowski himself, the former Illinois and Green Bay fullback turned radio and TV color announcer for Illini games. "I think it's great. I've been telling friends, 'This is my team!' "
"My name's been Smith all along, and I never associated it with white collar or conformity," says the Rams' Pro Bowl center, Doug Smith, who missed the game with a head injury. "I mean, they're the ones making videos. We could make a video and there would be 50 sales—to our families."
Whatever. Ditka and his boys want a little adversity, even if they have to create it themselves. They still haven't won the really big one, but at last they're in position to do that. Destined to do that. And around them they've got a city on fire.