John Fox Admits Fault In Failing To Challenge Pivotal Play In Bears’ Loss To Texans

By Chris Emma–

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) — It’s rare for Bears coach John Fox to come down on himself and admit guilt, but he did so Tuesday.

During Chicago’s 23-14 loss at Houston on Sunday, Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler was awarded a first down on a third-and-1 sneak in the first minute of the fourth quarter. The spot appeared to be generous,  and officials brought out the sticks and confirmed a first down.

Fox didn’t challenge the play, and it changed the game. It led to the Texans scoring the go-ahead touchdown. Fox said postgame Sunday that the decision not to throw the red flag was because spot reviews typically are hard to overturn. This one was clear cut.

“At the time, if I had the ability to see what people get to see at home — the yellow lines, the blue lines, all the things — we might have won it,” Fox said Tuesday. “Hindsight, I wish I would’ve challenged it.”

Emma: John Fox must clean up Bears’ game-management methods

In Fox’s admission of error, he also pointed to how there was ample time for his Bears personnel to realize the spot was clear for a challenge. The Bears in the booth did Fox no favors by making a challenge the obvious move.

“It wasn’t one of those bang-bang plays where all of a sudden, the other team was in the hurry-up,” Fox said. “You have time to look at it, have people see it upstairs, all that. We had all day.”

Later in the fourth quarter, Fox challenged what seemed to be a clear catch by Texans rookie receiver Will Fuller. The ruling was upheld, with Fox later claiming that to be a long timeout to rest his defense, which was looking to keep the Texans from taking a two-score lead.

Had the ruling on the field of Osweiler’s sneak been upheld, Houston would have likely kicked a field goal to make it a 16-14 lead over Chicago instead of the 20-14 lead it took. That four-point differential allowed the Texans to take more command in what had been a close game for three quarters.

The Bears’ film session on Tuesday did produce a positive in the mind of Fox. The nine-point differential between the Bears and the 2015 AFC South champions didn’t quite attest to how close the game was for three quarters in Houston.

What stood out to Fox from Sunday’s season opener?

“Just how really close we are,” Fox said.

Monday brings a new opportunity for the Bears as they battle the Eagles on the national stage.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670 and like his Facebook page.

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