The system is designed to shut off both long and short passes, unlike the popular prevent defense used by most clubs when they have a narrow lead late in the game.
"In 1966 I got tired of watching quarterbacks like Starr and Unitas pick the conventional defenses apart with short passes," Dooley said. "I studied the game pictures between seasons and I found out that in our two games with the San Francisco 49ers they threw a hundred passes against us, and half of them were thrown six yards or less."
Dooley applied his mathematical experience to the problem. "In the prevent, with a three-man rush, everyone drops off to kill the bomb," he said. "In our defense with four men on the line and a back and two linebackers behind it, we can do anything. We use all kinds of blitzes from it—both linebackers, cornerback, safety. When it is done properly, it can keep an offense off balance."
As Dooley introduced the defense last year and as the Bears have played it so far this season, the fifth defensive back is inserted in the game on second or third down and long yardage, or in any situation in which Dooley is convinced the odds favor a pass.
"In those situations," he said, "you can figure that the offensive team will throw the ball 80% of the time. If they run, that's what you want them to do because it is unlikely that they will gain enough yards for a first down."
In the debacle against the Lions, the Dooley defense did not get a true test, since Concannon and Rakestraw between them threw eight interceptions. Against the Vikings, their passing was impeccable.
The Dooley defense, given an operable offense, stuck to the coach's percentage plays with spectacular success. On the first Minnesota series, with second down and eight yards to go, Joe Kapp dropped back to pass from the Chicago 34-yard line, peering hopefully at the Bear defenders. A full blitz from the Dooley set dropped him for a 10-yard loss and forced a fumble on the Bear 44, which was recovered by John Johnson, a Chicago tackle. The Bears marched in for their first score. Late in the first quarter, trailing by two touchdowns, the Vikings mounted another putative drive behind Kapp. who was having considerable difficulty saving his skin against the tremendous rush. With second and 10 on the Bear 42 and the fifth back on the field again, Kapp tried to cross the Bears by running Clinton Jones on a sweep, but Linebacker Doug Buffone and Safetyman Richie Petitbon came across the line fast to drop Jones for a yard loss. With third and 11, the Dooley defense was still operative, and this time Kapp, with Bears surrounding him, threw an incomplete pass in the flat.
On third and 10 on the next Viking series Buffone was the lead man in a blitz from the Bear special defense and this time he dropped the hapless Kapp for a 10-yard loss. Late in the third period, on one of his few successful sorties, Kapp marshaled the Vikings to the Bear 35-yard line; but he found himself facing third and 10 and again a Bear defensive back trotted on the field to relieve a linebacker. Rushed, Kapp was bumped and his long, wobbly pass to Fullback Bill Brown was intercepted by Petitbon on the Bear nine-yard line and returned to the 27.
It was an enormously successful afternoon for the Dooley defense. Yet, the victory may have been a Pyrrhic one for the Bears: Concannon has a broken collarbone and will be out for a long time and Bukich has a slight shoulder sprain, leaving Rakestraw the only healthy quarterback on the club. It was a disheartening game for the Vikings, but there were bright spots in the running of Fullback Bill Brown and Gary Cuozzo's fourth-period performance as a relief pitcher, when he engineered two touchdowns. He completed four of four passes for 69 yards, giving him seven straight for the season.
And Kapp, the big, tough California graduate who came to the Vikings after eight years in the Canadian league, took his beating stoically. He met one of the most confusing defenses in modern football. It is no discredit to him that he could not solve it immediately.