CHICAGO (CBS) — After his team’s final drive in Detroit fell short as it sought to rally from a 20-17 deficit Sunday, Bears coach John Fox was left baffled by two consecutive holding penalties that negated big plays that would have put his team in range of a game-tying field goal.
A 27-yard pass to Cameron Meredith that would have put the Bears at the Lions’ 16-yard line was negated by a holding penalty on left tackle Charles Leno Jr., and a 23-yard pass to Daniel Braverman on the next play was called back for holding on right guard Ted Larsen. Instead of having a first-and-10 from the Lions’ 30-yard line with 37 seconds left and two timeouts, the Bears were backed up to their own 37-yard line, facing first-and-30.
“I’ve been doing this for 27 years, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen back-to-back holding penalties in a one-minute drive,” Fox told WBBM Newsradio’s Josh Liss on Monday.
Asked who he blames, however, Fox didn’t directly criticize the refs.
“You’ve got to figure it out. I can’t say it,” he said.
The two holding penalties put the Bears in a hole they couldn’t climb out of. Although they managed to move the ball 19 yards on the next three plays, receiver Josh Bellamy dropped what would have been a first-down catch on fourth-and-11, turning the ball over on downs and allowing the Lions to run out the clock.
Still, Fox said he was impressed with how quarterback Matt Barkley handled his first start on the road. Barkley was 20-of-32 for 212 yards and a touchdown, again showing poise in the two-minute drill.
“Really the thing that stands out to me is the performance of Matt Barkley,” Fox said. “It was his first NFL road start, and I think it wasn’t all perfect, but he hung in there and did pretty well.”
You can listen to the full interview with Fox below: