During the week the Cowboys had grown tired of answering questions about him. "The big hype is that everyone thinks he's so hard to bring down," said middle linebacker Gene (The Hitting Machine) Lockhart. "Just get off the mark quicker than he does, and you can bring him down hard or soft or any way you want."
Perry didn't have much of a day defensively. The stat sheet showed him with one tackle, no assists, and on Dallas's first play he got squashed in a double team while Dorsett scampered for 22 yards. But that was just a prelude to his serious work as a goal-line specialist.
He made his first appearance in the backfield near the end of the first half on first-and-goal from the Dallas two. He carried for a yard and tried to roll into the end zone. Nice try. Next play he decoyed as Fuller snuck over for the score. In the third quarter he was in on a third-and-goal from the two. He fell on strong safety Dextor Clinkscale as Payton was stopped short, whereupon William the Fridge lifted Payton and the rest of the pile and tried to deposit them into the end zone. He drew a 10-yard penalty for illegal use of the hands, and he was out of the lineup. The next play drew a sack, then a penalty, and the Bears ended up with a field goal.
"What were you trying to do?" someone asked Perry afterward.
"Trying to pick up the guy who was on Walter—and Walter, too," he said. "I didn't know you weren't allowed to do that."
The next episode will come on Sunday when the Bears face Atlanta. McMahon might not be back. His shoulder, which was originally damaged against the 49ers in the season's sixth game, was reinjured in game No. 9 against Green Bay.
Last year McMahon missed the playoffs. The Bears got by Washington with Fuller, but then the whole thing collapsed in the NFC championship when San Francisco beat them 23-0. The memory of those days and the concern they feel for their quarterback are the only shadows over a very sunny Bear picture. Maybe Singletary is right and the defense is headed for the heights. On Sunday it sure made believers out of the Cowboys.