Mike Ditka, Da Coach, came back to Soldier Field. He got the expected warm reception and a pleasing victory over his former team.
“The people were nice. They said some nice things out loud,” Ditka said after the New Orleans Saints beat the Chicago Bears 13-7 in the exhibition finale.
“Probably under their breath, they said some bad things. What we did here in ‘85, that was significant.”
Ditka, who compiled a 112-68 record with the Bears, winning the Super Bowl in 1986, signed autographs in the corner of the end zone an hour before the game.
The Saints intercepted four passes, outgained the Bears 385-245 and finished the preseason 3-1. Chicago ended the exhibition season 2-3.
“It was a pain in the butt. I’m all for loving somebody and enjoying somebody, but that was 12 years ago,” Bears linebacker Bryan Cox said of the attention Ditka’s return received. “We’ve got to make something happen around here for ourselves.”
Former Seahawk Rick Mirer, who lost the starting job to Erik Kramer this week, was picked off twice and also fumbled.
Rams 14, Chiefs 13
At St. Louis, Orlando Pace didn’t show much rust from his training camp holdout.
The No. 1 pick of the NFL draft played most of the second half for St. Louis (2-2) and held his own against Kansas City (1-3) reserves in the win.
Pace has been practicing for only five days after signing a rookie-record $29.4 million, seven-year deal Sunday. But he opened his share of holes and didn’t allow any Chiefs near Rams backup quarterback Mark Rypien.
Steelers 27, Panthers 19
At Charlotte, N.C., Pittsburgh (5-0) converted three breakdowns by Carolina’s (0-4) defense and one by its punt coverage unit into four touchdowns.
Pittsburgh kicker Chris Jacke pulled the quadriceps muscle in his right thigh on an extra point in the first quarter. His status is uncertain for next Sunday, when the Steelers begin the regular season against Dallas.
Cowboys 34, Oilers 10
At Irving, Texas, Emmitt Smith scored his first exhibition touchdown, Billy Davis snared a 59-yard touchdown pass and job-seeking Richie Cunningham hit two field goals, including a 51-yarder, as Dallas (2-2) rolled to a victory over Tennessee (0-4).
Jaguars 26, Falcons 17
At Jacksonville, Fla., quarterback Rob Johnson, in his final tuneup before making his first NFL start, scrambled five times for 61 yards and led Jacksonville on two long scoring drives in a victory over Atlanta.
Bills 31, Ravens 28
At Baltimore, Billy Joe Hobert brought Buffalo (2-3) back from a 25-point deficit, throwing a 36-yard touchdown pass to Mitchell Galloway with 28 seconds left for a victory over Baltimore (0-4).
Hobert went 21 for 27 for 242 yards and three scores in the second half to rally the Bills from a 28-3 hole. Hobert is slated to start the season behind Todd Collins, who was 6 for 17 for 77 yards.
Vikings 28, Chargers 22
At Minneapolis, quarterback Brad Johnson threw two first-half touchdown passes for Minnesota (3-2) as the Vikings handed San Diego (3-1) its first loss of the preseason.
Jets 15, Bucs 9 (OT)
At Orlando, Fla., New York finished an unbeaten preseason under first-year coach Bill Parcells, beating Tampa Bay (1-3) on Leon Johnson’s 7-yard touchdown run in overtime. The 5-0 Jets open the regular season next Sunday in Seattle against the Seahawks.
Packers 22, Giants 17
At Madison, Wis., Green Bay (5-0) wrapped up its first perfect exhibition season since 1967 when safety Mike Prior blasted Amani Toomer as he was about to catch a fourth-down pass at the Green Bay 10 with 1:41 left to edge New York (1-3).
Cardinals 15, Raiders 13
Rookie quarterback Jake Plummer got Arizona (1-3) within range with a 10-play, 37-yard drive and Kevin Butler kicked his fifth field goal with 14 seconds to play to beat Oakland (2-2).
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