The question “What was Marcus Cooper thinking?” perhaps wasn’t answered to the extent folks might have liked. But really, is an explanation even possible?
“That was just a mistake on my part,” Cooper said after Sunday’s overtime win at Soldier Field. “I didn’t think he was that close to me, slowed down.
“I thought I was in, but obviously I wasn’t. The guy came in and made a great play.”
Cooper was not in, something a video review confirmed after a jaw-droppingly unbelievable play in which the Bears’ starting cornerback picked up a blocked field goal and dashed the length of the field before stopping inside the 10-yard line, allowing a defender to chop the ball out of his hands.
The stunned crowd — and a perhaps even more stunned press box — couldn’t possibly guess why Cooper did such a bone-headed thing, instantly becoming the new Leon Lett. He shrugged it off pretty calmly afterward, explaining that he thought he scored.
He did not score. But the Bears won. So the approach seems to be: Who cares?
“Regardless of that play or not, we’re in here for wins and losses,” Cooper said. “We stepped up today, and we did what we needed to do to get the ‘W.’”
It’s true that the play didn’t end up being as costly as it could have been. Because the Steelers batted the ball out of the end zone, they were flagged and the Bears got to run one more play before the half ran out. That play also included a Bears miscue, Charles Leno flagged for a false start, meaning a second crack at a touchdown was wiped out in favor of a field goal.
Those four points left on the board could’ve been seven if not for the officials sticking to the letter of the law. They had initially called the half over after Cooper’s screw up. The Steelers even went to the locker room and had to come back to the field.
And even when the Bears turned the ball over twice in the second half, both those giveaway leading to Steelers scores, they never trailed. The only difference that might’ve been made is that the game might not have spun into overtime. Had Cooper just scored the touchdown, the Bears would have had four more points.
Cooper, to his credit, also made a great, potentially game-saving play in the fourth quarter, defending a Ben Roethlisberger pass on third down that turned a potential go-ahead touchdown drive in the wake of Mike Glennon’s interception into a game-tying field goal.
“I couldn’t dwell on that play,” Cooper said. “You move forward. Especially as a corner, you have that next-play mentality. So after that occurred in the first half, let it go and just tried to make plays.”
So while Cooper’s play at the end of the second quarter still remains crazy, ghastly and unable to be properly explained, the result rendered it rather more forgettable.
The Bears won. So who cares?