By Chris Emma—
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) – With the opportunity to put rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky back on the field with the chance to beat the 49ers on Sunday, Bears coach John Fox instead opted to put the game on the foot of kicker Robbie Gould and more specifically his team’s ability to block a short field goal.
The Bears led the 49ers, 14-12, and there would have been around 1:34 remaining if Fox had instructed his Chicago defense to let San Francisco score a touchdown late. But Fox believed that his team’s best chance was to attempt a field goal block – despite how blocking a 24-yard field goal is a feat rarely achieved in the NFL.
With the Bears out of timeouts, Gould followed by hitting the 24-yard field goal in the waning seconds to give the 49ers a 15-14 win.
“We felt good about the block we had on the potential field goal,” Fox said after the game.
On Thursday, Bears special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers spoke for the first time and suggested the decision for a field goal block was that of Fox, and there was no schematic advantage they felt existed at the time.
“We try to rush every kick as hard as we can,” Rodgers said. “Schematically, with different teams, there are different ways to rush them. I wouldn’t want to say one particular thing that we thought, ‘Man, if we can just get them in this situation.’ The reality (is) it’s a short kick and there’s not a ton of great options in that situation. But we were going to try to rush it the best we can.”
Rodgers was then asked if there was any advantage the Bears believed they had in attempting to block the Gould field goal.
“Not any one thing in particular,” Rodgers said. “Obviously, after the game, you start going through the different scenarios – what if, what if. We’re just trying to do whatever the head coach decides in that situation. If he says, ‘Hey, we’re going to try to block this,’ great.”
With the loss, the Bears fell to 12-32 during Fox’s tenure as head coach and further intensified the calls for a coaching change.