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."

Ryan Pace ranked among bottom-third of NFL general managers

Ryan Pace ranked among bottom-third of NFL general managers

Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace is having what many believe is his best offseason since taking the job in 2015, but after three seasons and only 14 wins, he needs a big year in 2018 to justify the confidence ownership has in him. 

According to a recent breakdown of all 32 general managers, Pace ranks among the worst decision-makers in the league.

No. 23: Ryan Pace, Chicago Bears

There’s only so much you can accomplish in one spring. The problem is that Pace let himself accumulate so many needs to begin with. He needs Trubisky and Nagy to springboard a fourth-year turnaround. 

The rankings didn't include six new GM hires, which makes Pace's positioning even more troubling.

Even though the Bears haven't seen wins on the field, Pace has done a solid job through three draft classes and appears to have the right coaching staff in place. His first hire, John Fox, was a calculated move by a rookie general manager to have an experienced football guy to lean on. Now, several offseasons later, the team is starting to take on his identity.

Despite all the talent Pace has added through the draft and the slow but steady transformation of the team's overall culture, it's a win-now business and if his blueprint doesn't start producing more wins than losses, it will be hard to justify more time and patience for his plan to develop.

Is Danny Trevathan's Bears' future in doubt after NFL Draft? 'It depends on how you look at it'

Is Danny Trevathan's Bears' future in doubt after NFL Draft? 'It depends on how you look at it'

The NFL Draft is a necessary evil if you’re a veteran player, especially if your team just drafted two players at the position you play and your contract doesn’t provide much job security beyond the upcoming season. 

That’s the spot Danny Trevathan is in now. The Bears nabbed Roquan Smith with the eighth overall pick in April's NFL Draft, then used their fourth-round selection on Joel Iyiegbuniwe. Both players are inside linebackers; the Bears could net $6.4 million in cap savings if they release Trevathan following the 2018 season. 

Trevathan, though, isn’t approaching 2018 like the writing is on the wall for it to be his final year in Chicago. 

“It depends on how you look at it,” Trevathan said. “For me, it is what it is, (Smith’s) a good player and he’s going to help us out on defense. You just want to go ahead and do your job and keep working. He’s a good player, just like we’ve all got some good players out here. But he’s … we got the right guy to fit our defense. He’s working his tail off and he fits in with our linebacker group.”

That Trevathan answered a question about the decision to draft Smith, specifically, in that manner isn’t surprising. The 28-year-old is one of the most respected leaders in the Bears locker room, the kind of guy who sets the tone for the rest of the defense (in other words: Exactly what you want out of a veteran inside linebacker). Trevathan offered plenty of praise for Smith not only as a player, but for how he’s approached his first few practices wearing a Bears helmet. 

“He's quick, instinctive, learns well,” Trevathan said. “He's just out here trying to get better. That's what I like about him. He's calling the call sheets out. He's learning the plays. That's what you want in him. You want him to come out here and be humble. You want him to work hard. I see that in his eyes, coming out here. It's a lot of lights on him. It's a lot of attention on him. But he's finding himself out here, coming out here and trying to make some plays.”

The reality, though, is that Smith may not be the one to take Trevathan’s job, if it comes to that. The best-case outlook for Iyiegbuniwe would appear to be that the Bears found a fourth-round steal who can pair with Smith as Vic Fangio’s long-term inside linebacking tandem. If “Iggy” proves to be that guy, then Trevathan could indeed find his place in Chicago in jeopardy. 

And, too, even if Iyiegbuniwe doesn’t quickly develop into a starting-caliber player, the Bears could still decide to cut ties with Trevathan if Smith proves to be elite. 

The best way for Trevathan to make sure he’s still here in a year, though, is to play a full 16-game season — something he hasn’t done since 2013, and he's missed 11 games since signing a four-year deal in 2016. 

But when Trevathan is on the field, his speed and physicality are a critical component to the Bears’ success. That won't change in 2018, at the least. 

"(He has) that veteran experience," coach Matt Nagy said. "We went against Danny when I was in Kansas City and he was at Denver so we always knew what kind of player he was. He has the demeanor to him, a focus, he's very serious when he's out there on the field and he'll have a great mentorship, he'll be a great mentor for Roquan."