The Bengal punt carried to the five. The clock showed 11:31 to play. The game-winning drive was something Tomczak says he had "thought about at halftime—winning it with a drive at the end. But 95 yards? Well, if that doesn't tickle you a little...."
Tomczak had a hand in four big plays: a 21-yard square-in to a leaping Gentry on third-and-10 from the Chicago 18, a 29-yard crossing pattern to tight end James Thornton, a two-yard quarterback sneak on fourth-and-one and, finally, a 20-yard TD toss to Thornton on a right-to-left crossing route. "A tight throw," Tomczak said. "I kept telling myself, Don't force it."
So where does this win leave the Bears? This Sunday they play Minnesota—good passing team, spotty running, stiff defense. Tomczak, who had moderate numbers (10 completions in 24 attempts for 159 yards), showed resilience and character. The defense, once a stifling, crushing operation, has turned into a bend-but-don't-break outfit keyed by the three aging All-Pros. "I think they realize," Hampton said, "that life without us won't be pretty."
The Bengals, who have a very good team, were not despondent in the locker room. They were happy that they had played well, that they had hung in after a lackluster exhibition season. All-Pro noseguard Tim Krumrie, who suffered that awful broken leg in the Super Bowl, was back, a little rusty but still functional. So was their right linebacker, Reggie Williams, who had suffered both a knee injury and an appendectomy in camp. Yes, the Bengals played inspired football, but so did the home team. Fifteen rounds to go.