The Bernstein Brief: Either John Fox Call Was Defensible

By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist

(CBS) One dubious benefit of having lost so many games is the chance to make a valid case for a strategical call that goes wrong. Being as bad as the Bears are makes things arguable.

In hindsight, it might have been nice if coach John Fox pushed all-in late in the fourth quarter Sunday and gone for the go-ahead touchdown on fourth down from the Packers’ 4-yard line with 83 seconds remaining. Instead, he chose the safe route of the tying field goal, allowing for the ensuing untying at the hands of Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson.

Going for it would have been understood as nothing-to-lose bravado, taking one shot at capping off an unlikely late rally, trying to score 21 unanswered in the fourth. The downside risk is just another loss and further solidification of draft position.

But that late eruption cuts both ways, also justifying faith that extending the game would be advantageous for the team that had taken control on both sides of the ball. Fox was trusting that Matt Barkley would keep connecting with receivers as he had all quarter and that the defense had found a way to limit the effectiveness of Rodgers and his obviously injured leg.

Alas.

But the 30-27 outcome doesn’t change the risk calculation or the downside, and there was reason for the conservative option beyond the hoary play-for-the-tie-at-home aphorism.

Just because it failed doesn’t necessarily mean it didn’t make any sense.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s “Boers and Bernstein Show” in afternoon drive. You can follow him on Twitter  @dan_bernstein and read more of his columns here.

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