Going for it on fourth down instead of kicking the field goal, which likely wouldve been good considering Robbie Goulds prowess. Coach Lovie Smith made that choice early in the second quarter, when the Bears were up 7-0.
In hindsight, Smith admits he shouldve chosen the latter.
The Bears couldnt convert that fourth-and-1 early in the game, and a dropped pass by a wide-open Earl Bennett later also proved costly in the Bears 23-17 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. If youre into playing the woulda, coulda, shoulda game, the Bears coulda had a decent lead at the half. Instead they were down 10-7.
And it could have started with that field-goal attempt the Bears didnt take.
We should have taken the field goal, Smith said. It felt like we had momentum. (I) wanted to really try to knock them out and get them on their heels a little bit. That was a big play in the game.
It was, and it was one that the Seahawks didnt let the Bears get. Seattles defense stopped Michael Bush at the 15-yard line, inches short of the first down. It wouldve been a 32-yard field goal attempt for Gould, who is 72-of-79 (91.1 percent) in the 30- to 39-yard range for his career.
Still, Smith also believed the Bears shouldve picked up those scant few inches on fourth down.
If youre going to win and be able to get in the playoffs and play good football at this time in the season, youve got to be able to pick it (up) and pick up a forth-and-short like that, he said. Every time a decision doesnt work out, I look at it and think that. Would I do it again? Probably so. Again, youve got to be able to get those fourth-and-shorts.
Bears center Roberto Garza said that fell to his group.
Obviously on that fourth-and-short, it is on the offensive line. We have to be able to convert that, Garza said. Its unacceptable. We get that, we get points and its a different story. We definitely left opportunities on the field and we have to do a better job.
The Bears had another chance to get points later, when a wide-open Bennett couldnt hold onto Jay Cutlers deep pass to him. Cutler said, I spun (Bennett) around a little bit and it was tough to catch. Hes going to say that he should have had it.
Bennett was flipped up and around on his touchdown catch early in the game. That play also may have led to the concussion that kept him out the second half.
The missed opportunities left the Bears scrambling for a late field goal to send the game to overtime. But one long Seahawks drive against a tired Bears defense later, the squandered chances really loomed large.
We shouldnt have been in that position, Cutler said. We had a fourth down early in the game, Earl Bennett dropped one and in the four-minute drive I fumbled the ball; things like that. In a game like this with two really good defenses going at it, one plan can swing the game. Offensively, we shouldve done a better job and not put ourselves in that position.