Robbie Gould has his Michael Jordan moment in Bears victory


Robbie Gould has his Michael Jordan moment in Bears victory

NFL kickers usually don't talk much, let alone compare themselves to arguably the greatest basketball player of all time.

But most kickers don't have the credentials that Robbie Gould has.

The 11-year Bears kicker, who already broke the franchise record earlier this season for most career field goals, added another astonishing accomplishment to his resumé.

Gould drilled a game-winning 49-yard field goal to propel the Bears to a 22-20 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. The kick gave Gould 12-career game-winning field goals since he joined the team back in 2005.

[MORE BEARS: Wild finish as Cutler leads Bears to first win of the season]

If the game-winner seemed like déjà-vu to Bears fans, Gould had that same feeling.

Earlier in Sunday's game, Gould connected on a 54-yard field goal from the same spot on the field, albeit just a few yards further, and he also made an identical kick from the same spot in overtime of a 2006 NFC Divisional playoff win against the Seattle Seahawks.

"I love that end zone, because that's the wind I'm used to," Gould said. "I think I've hit all my game-winners at that end. The last one I remember at that distance was the Seahawks. You kind of bring yourself back to certain kicks. I knew if I hit it to the right upright and everyone else did their job — which they did all game — we were going to have a chance to win it. Just trust your lines. It's the same old end zone down there for me. It's just something I'm comfortable with."

Following the win, Gould paid homage to greatest sporting legend the city of Chicago has ever seen.

"Listen, Michael Jordan never said he didn't want the ball at the end of the game," Gould said. "Let's be honest. When he passed he probably didn't even like passing so when you get in situations like that, that's your opportunity as a kicker to earn that respect in the locker room. Earn the respect of your teammates. You have to make those plays. Big players make big plays in big situations."

[MORE: Injuries in win over Raiders fell two more Bears starters]

While Gould wants to compare himself to Jordan, Bears tight end Martellus Bennett sees similarities between Gould and a different 90s era Bulls guard.

"He needs to be more like Steve Kerr," Bennett said. "He needs to make more Steve Kerr references and less Michael Jordan references. Robbie is the Steve Kerr. Somebody else is the MJ. But it's like that moment, you want to take the last shot because that's who Mike was and what this city is used to seeing. I think there are several of guys who wanted the ball in that situation and Robbie got his chance to be Jordan.

"You know sometimes Mike gets double-teamed and he has to spot up. Mike drove to the lane and crossed somebody over and then they double-teamed him. So he sees Kerr out of his peripheral so he pitched it back to Gould in that situation. Hit the three and we won. But we didn't put the ball right in his hands to begin with. No iso for Steve Kerr."

Recalling moments in Tom Brady history ahead of his likely last meeting with Bears


Recalling moments in Tom Brady history ahead of his likely last meeting with Bears

As Tom Brady approaches what in all reasonable likelihood will be his last game against the Bears and in Soldier Field, the first time this reporter saw Tom Brady comes very much to mind. Actually the first times, plural. Because they were indeed memorable, for different reasons.

That was back in 2001, when Brady should have started replacing Wally Pipp as the poster athlete for what can happen when a player has to sit out and his replacement never gives the job back. Drew Bledsoe, who’d gotten the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl, had gotten injured week two of that season. Brady, who’d thrown exactly one pass as a rookie the year before, stepped in and never came out, playing the Patriots into the AFC playoffs the same year the Bears were reaching and exiting the NFC playoffs when Philadelphia’s Hugh Douglas body-slammed QB Jim Miller on his shoulder.

After that the playoff assignments were elsewhere, including the Patriots-Steelers meeting in Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship. Brady started that game but left with an ankle injury and Bledsoe came off the bench to get the Patriots into Super Bowl.

Then came one of those rare moments when you are witnessing history but have the misfortune of not knowing it at the time.

The question of Super Bowl week was whether Bill Belichick would stay with Bledsoe’s winning hand or go back to Brady. Belichick of course waited deep into Super Bowl week before announcing his decision at 8 p.m. on a Thursday night, the second time that season Belichick had opted to stay with Brady over a healthy Bledsoe. And of course Belichick didn’t announce the decision himself (surprise); he had it put out by the team’s media relations director.

You did have to respect Belichick, though, going into his first Super Bowl as a head coach with a sixth-round draft choice at quarterback and leaving a former (1992) No. 1-overall pick with a $100-million contract on the bench. The Patriots upset The Greatest Show on Turf Rams in that Super Bowl, Brady was MVP, and Bledsoe was traded to Buffalo that offseason.


That Super Bowl also included one of those performance snapshots the Bears envision for Mitch Trubisky but missed a chance to let him attempt last Sunday at Miami in his 17th NFL start. Brady took the Patriots on a drive starting at their own 17 with 1:30 to play and no timeouts, ending with an Adam Vinatieri field-goal winner.

If Belichick was all right letting his second-year quarterback in just his 17th start throw eight straight passes starting from inside his own red zone, the next time Matt Nagy gets the football at his own 20 with timeouts and time in hand, best guess is that the decision will be to see if his quarterback lead a game-winning drive with his arm instead of handing off.

It may not happen this Sunday. Brady is a career 4-0 vs. Bears, and if there is one constant it is that his opposite numbers play really bad football against him, or rather his coach’s defense. Bears quarterback passer ratings opposite Brady, even in years when the Bears were good: Jim Miller 51.2 in 2002, Rex Grossman 23.7 in 2006; Jay Cutler 32.9 and Cutler again in the 51-23 blowout in Foxboro. Cutler finished that game with a meaningless 108.6 rating, meaningless because Cutler put up big numbers beginning when his team was down 38-7 after he’d mucked about with a 61.7 rating, plus having a fumble returned for a TD, while the Bears were being humiliated.

A surprise would be if Trubisky bumbles around like his predecessors (New England allows an average opponent passer rating of 91.6), but whether he can produce a third straight 120-plus rating…. Then again, Pat Mahomes put a 110.0 on the Patriots last Sunday night, but Deshaun Watson managed only a 62.9 against New England in game one.

Trubisky will make the third of the three 2017 first-round QB’s to face the Patriots. The first two lost.

Brian Baldinger: 'I'm not so sure anybody could've seen the jump that Mitch Trubisky is making right now'


Brian Baldinger: 'I'm not so sure anybody could've seen the jump that Mitch Trubisky is making right now'

On Thursday, Brian Baldinger released another video clip on Twitter for his #BaldysBreakdowns series, this one praising the recent play from Bears QB Mitch Trubisky.

Baldinger states that Trubisky is "making some kind of jump", referring to how impressed he was with Trubisky's play when compared to his rookie season. 

In the video Baldinger explains in the video how you expect franchise QBs to make a big leap from year one to year two, and a big part of that leap for Trubisky is being unafraid to make aggressive throws downfield.

Baldinger highlighted a play where Trubisky hit Taylor Gabriel 47-yards down the field, choosing to trust his wideout after he hit him with perfect ball placement despite tight coverage. He continued this theme later on in the video, showing Trubisky's TD strike to Allen Robinson, which was whipped right past a Dolphins defender. 

But Baldinger's video wasn't exclusively compliments for Trubisky. He discussed Tarik Cohen's effectiveness as a pass-catcher, saying that you "can't cover him" and comparing him to a Ferrari with his ability to go from first to fifth gear "about as fast as anybody."

He ended his video by showing Trubisky punishing the Dolphins for a blown coverage, hitting rookie Anthony Miller in stride for a 29-yard TD. Baldinger's point in including this clip was to show Trubisky's improved recognition, as he may not have spotted the blown coverage last year. Noticing when and how to take advantage of defensive sloppiness is one of the many things that seperate a "franchise QB" from a stopgap, and Trubisky is trending in the right direction. 

If Baldinger's breakdown is any indication, we should expect Trubisky to keep his incredible momentum rolling when the Bears take on the New England Patriots on Sunday. New England is 3rd worst in the league in passing TDs allowed, giving up 15 scores through the air in six games.