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Bears win after Dick Butkus' death reminiscent of Walter Payton 1999 game

It feels like the former Bears players are looking down on their team from above

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On Nov. 7, 1999, the then 3-5 Bears traveled north to Lambeau Field to take on the 4-3 Green Bay Packers, led by Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre.

The game happened six days after legendary Bears running back Walter Patyon died of cancer from a complication of a rare liver disease. Some who played that day were teammates of Payton's.

By the end of the game, the Bears led the Packers 14-13, but Favre and the Packers offense were storming down the field for a last-minute drive. The Packers stopped and attempted a 28-yard game-winning field goal.

But Bryan Robinson got a hand on the football and blocked it, ending the game with a one-point victory for the Bears.

It felt supernatural. Rarely do chip-shot, 28-yard field goals get blocked, especially when the game is on the line. That was the magic that was felt in Green Bay that day. And everyone seemed to know who helped make it happen.

"I think he might've," Rico McDonald told ABC7 news when asked if Payton got a hand on the Packers' field goal attempt. "If he did, thanks a lot. I think he's looking down upon us."

"He put his hand down here and blocked that kick, man. It's beautiful," Todd Perry said.

"I just can't begin to tell you of the memories in this place. The memories of Walter through the week. The way it happened today. It's incredible, isn't it?" Virginia McCaskey said.

That same feeling of supernatural assistance was reminiscent at FedEx Field on Thursday. Hours after the Bears and the family announced Dick Butkus died, the Bears trampled over the Washington Commanders.

We're talking about a team that lost four straight games to open the season --- in egregious and unfathomable fashion, too.

They were left at the mercy of the Packers during Week 1's contest, a matchup Butkus was present for and declared the Bears "kick the Packers a--" during an in-stadium interview just before kickoff. They beat themselves against the Buccaneers in Week 2 after multiple screenplay calls resulted in a four-yard pick-6. The Kansas City Chiefs mutilated the Bears in front of Taylor Swift. And, of course, they blew a 21-point lead against the Denver Broncos, who have performed equally as horrendous as the Bears this season.

How could the Bears, not only defeat the Commanders, but trample them by 20 points? It seemed a supernatural force was the only explanation.

Justin Fields played a marvelous game, too. He threw for 282 yards and four touchdowns, connecting with DJ Moore for 230 yards and three of those touchdowns. He led a mundane, elementary offense to a 40-point massacre against the Commanders' defense.

The players mentioned they didn't find out about Butkus' death until just before the game. Fields said he and Darnell Mooney found out when FedEx Field held a moment of silence in Butkus' memory moments before kickoff.

None of them played with Butkus, obviously. Some met and spoke with him. Some never got that chance. Either way, they knew his presence was on the field and they played for the Bears legend in his honor.

"It just means a lot tonight getting a win," Fields told the Amazon broadcast team after the game. "First win in a long time. Bears legend. He'll never be forgotten. We played for him tonight. This one's for him. Glad we got the dub."

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