Robbie Gould shoulders blame for Bears loss: 'I feel terrible'


Robbie Gould shoulders blame for Bears loss: 'I feel terrible'

Robbie Gould was waiting at his locker as soon as the Bears clubhouse opened, ready to face the music.

The Bears limped off Soldier Field Sunday afternoon with a stomach-churning 26-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in overtime, a game in which Robbie Gould missed two field goals - including a 36-yarder as time expired in regulation.

"There's no excuse for it," Gould said. "I just didn't get it done today. I feel terrible. I have a job to do and I didn't do that today.

"This one falls on me and my shoulders. I feel bad for my teammates because I didn't do the job that I'm supposed to do."

It's only the fourth time in Gould's career that he missed multiple field goals in the same game, but it's already the second time this season (he also missed two field goals in Week 9 against the San Diego Chargers).

[MORE - Bears shoot themselves in the foot in OT loss to 49ers]

Both field goals against the Niners fell within Gould's "comfort" range - tries of 36 and 40 yards. Entering play Sunday, Gould had missed just 10 field goals from the 30-39 yard range in his career, going 88-for-98 in such attempts (89.8 percent).

Gould did connect on his first two field goals on the afternoon - a 40-yarder and a 51-yarder in the first quarter.

"I hit the ball really well the first time," Gould said. "I had a lot of confidence going into the last two kicks. I just got quick on both of them and rushed them and hurried them.

"They're both probably the worst kicks I had all year."

Gould's teammates, however, refused to let him take all the blame.

"That's not fair at all," Bears rookie running back Jeremy Langford said. "You learn as a football player that it's not one play that loses a game. There are a lot of those plays that add up at the end of the game to help with that loss."

Matt Forte echoed Langford's thoughts.

"It's a team," Forte said. "Everybody knows that. ... We lost the game as a team. We had a chance to win the game multiple times.

"It's not fair for him to say that he lost the game. ... He can't put that all on himself. And he shouldn't."

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Gould entered the game 24-for-27 on field goals on the season is also still over 85 percent in his career (269-for-315, 85.3 percent).

"I told him on the sideline, 'You're our brother. We got your back,'" Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee said. "It's football. Nobody's ever going to be perfect, man.

"He's going to be a legendary kicker someday. He's our brother and we got his back and we're gonna fight through this together."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Can the Bears pull off an upset at home against Tom Brady and the Patriots?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Can the Bears pull off an upset at home against Tom Brady and the Patriots?

Chris Emma, Matt Zahn and Gabe Ramirez join David Kaplan on the panel.

0:00- NBC Sports National NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh joins the panel to discuss the Bulls’ terrible defensive performance as well as Zach LaVine’s impressive season debut.

11:35- Khalil Mack is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Can the Bears pull off the upset against Tom Brady?

23:50- NBC Sports Boston Patriots insider Tom E. Curran joins Kap to talk about how New England views the Bears and discuss how Matt Nagy’s team can exploit the Patriots’ weaknesses.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below.


Khalil Mack appears set to play Sunday with Tom Brady, Patriots looming

Khalil Mack appears set to play Sunday with Tom Brady, Patriots looming

Khalil Mack appears in line to play Sunday with Tom Brady, Patriots looming

Khalil Mack participated in the Bears’ final practice of the week on Friday, clearing the way for the edge rusher to play Sunday against the New England Patriots. 

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported earlier Friday that the Bears expected Mack, who hasn’t missed a game in his career, to play after suffering an ankle injury early in Week 6’s 31-28 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Mack is officially questionable for Sunday’s game at Soldier Field. 

Mack had little interest in discussing his ankle with the media on Friday, passing on answering questions about his readiness for New England. Coach Matt Nagy, though, said he thought Mack “looked pretty good” during practice on Friday. 

Mack didn’t record a sack against Miami and was held to just one pressure, per Pro Football Focus. The Dolphins’ gameplan was to commit plenty of resources to stopping Mack, but he wasn’t effective even when he had one-on-one pass rushing opportunities as the game went on. 

“He was (affected),” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “I can't put a percentage on it, but he definitely was.”

Having Mack available — even if he’s not full strength — will be critical for the Bears’ defense to have a chance at keeping Tom Brady from lighting up the scoreboard. The key for the Bears will be to generate pressure on the 41-year-old quarterback without blitzing, which is something Fangio’s defense was successful at prior to Sunday’s wacky loss to the Dolphins. 

Brady’s passer rating is 138.4 when he’s blitzed, per Pro Football Focus, while when under pressure his rating is 87.2. That’s still pretty good, but it’s worth noting that all of the six interceptions he’s thrown this year have come when he hasn’t been blitzed. And only one of the eight sacks he’s taken has come when he’s been blitzed. 

The point being: If the Bears feel like they have to start blitzing to generate pressure, they can expect Brady to pick them apart.  

“You could say all of that but ultimately (Brady’s) a gamer,” Mack said. “He’s going to take those hits, and you gotta be able to deliver them but also have coverage over the top. It’s going to be real important for us.” 

The good news for the Bears, perhaps, is that New England’s tackles have struggled at times this year. Left tackle Trent Brown has allowed 17 pressures in 234 pass blocking snaps, per Pro Football Focus (about one in every 14 snaps). And starting right tackle Marcus Cannon is out with a concussion, giving way for backup La’Adrian Waddle, who’s allowed eight pressures in 78 pass blocking snaps (about one in every 10). 

So the opportunities will be there for Mack, Leonard Floyd, Akiem Hicks and the Bears’ pass rush to affect Brady on Sunday.

A bigger injury concern?

While cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring) was a full participant in Friday’s practice and will play Sunday, slot corner Bryce Callahan suffered an ankle injury during Thursday’s practice and did not participate Friday. He’s officially questionable for Sunday. 

Callahan “did his ankle,” Nagy said, toward the end of Thursday’s practice, and he felt worse as the day went on. Nagy characterized Callahan’s absence from Friday’s practice as “precautionary.”

Callahan’s availability may be more of a pressing concern than Mack’s, given how well the Patriots’ offense has played since slot receiver Julian Edelman returned from a four-game suspension to begin the season. While his numbers aren’t eye-popping (11 catches on 16 targets, 111 yards, 1 TD), New England’s offense has scored 38 and 43 points in his two games back. 

“Brady has always had a guy in the slot that he’s comfortable with; whether it be (Wes) Welker, (Danny) Amendola or Edelman,” Fangio said. “It’s a big part of their offense. They haven’t missed a beat, but I really think it’s helped their offense and played a big part in them basically averaging 40 points in the last three weeks. I really appreciate and respect how good of a player he is and has been.”

If Callahan isn’t available, Sherrick McManis could be the next man up at slot corner.