At 39, Jim Dooley is hardly a kid. A tall, horn-rimmed kind of guy who once was an offensive end and later inherited the defensive-coaching job vacated by George Allen, Dooley is one of the few NFL coaches who has experience both ways. His main problem is that he's too much the gentleman. "When Dooley tells you to kill," says one Bear, "you've just got to laugh. He wasn't that kind of a ballplayer." After the Viking debacle Dooley got tough. As the Bears prepared for last Sunday's do-or-die game with Detroit, Dooley worked his team mercilessly. Practices ran for 2� hours, with contact scrimmages culminating the drills. Throughout the week, the tone of the team was sullen, introspective. George Seals talked to no one, Dick Butkus hit everyone and Corner-back Bennie McRae worried out loud. "I've never seen our effort and the results so far out of proportion," he said. At the end of Friday's workout Dooley resorted to rhetoric. He promised that the Bears would "come back," using the phrase at least five times in a strident voice and warning that any player who didn't put out 100% would soon be unemployed. The Bears stood at attention throughout the speech.
"There are no quitters on this team," said Center Mike Pyle after the practice. "We're better than 0 and 4. But it gets to you. I haven't even been reading the papers. I've been hiding out." Pyle looked at the empty stands, the autumnal sun barely taking the chill off the air. "I grew up in this town," he said, "and I used to sit in those stands and growl at the Bears. But when I started to play I began to get hot at the fans. Still, they see it like it is. We're losers right now. It's up to us to win."
Game day in Detroit broke in keeping with the Bears' mood. A relentless, soaking rain turned the field in Tiger Stadium into a swamp even before the kick-off. Both coaches were starting reserve quarterbacks, Detroit's Joe Schmidt going with second-year-man Greg Landry—since Bill Munson had broken his throwing hand a week earlier in the Green Bay game—and Jim Dooley, looking to a future of sorts, starting his southpaw rookie, Bobby Douglass. Four minutes into the second quarter Douglass hit Bob Wallace with a 32-yard touchdown pass. It was the first time this year that the Bears had opened the scoring, but the Lions came right back with a touchdown to make it 7-7. "Well," said one Chicago sportswriter, "it was fun while it lasted."
He was right. Detroit began the second half with a 70-yard drive that terminated in a 20-yard field goal by Errol Mann. Although Dooley kept Sayers on the bench for most of the second half, feeling his heavy backs would be more effective on the muddy field, Douglass was able to move the Bears into field-goal range. Then Zeus frowned, and Percival missed from the 38. There it was. Percival now 2 for 8 on the season. Dooley turned to Concannon, but to no avail. Mann kicked a 46-yard field goal and the Lions won 13-7.
That spelled 0 and 5—the worst start for a Bear team since 1945. Oh, those poor, downtrodden Bears! As the game ended an announcer alerted the 54,732 fans in Tiger Stadium to stay around for a Little League game immediately after the gun. "No," yelled a Chicago sportswriter, "this is the Little League game. Later we get the pros."