Trestman not backing away from field goal decision
A day later, Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman wasn’t backing
He insisted he made the right move when he decided to go for a
winning field goal on a second down in overtime at Minnesota on
Sunday even if the decision did not pan out.
Trestman called on Robbie Gould for a 47-yarder that sailed wide
right rather than run another play or two, and the Bears suffered a
crushing 23-20 loss. Trestman acknowledged he second guesses
himself ”a lot afterward.”
”I want to be perfect for the guys,” he said. ”And when
things don’t work, I hold myself accountable for it because I’m
making every decision in the best interest.”
He was adamant: Going for the field goal was the right call at
that moment, that the decision did not fuel any second guessing in
”It does not. It really does not,” he said.
The Bears are in a tough spot trailing Detroit by a game in the
NFC North at 6-6, with the Lions holding a head-to-head sweep and
their shot at a wild card looking about as long as the 66-yard
attempt Gould missed at the end of regulation.
They’ve dropped six of nine, with a Monday night matchup against
Dallas up next, and it’s not clear if the injured Jay Cutler (high
left ankle sprain) and Lance Briggs (shoulder) will return.
Trestman did not rule out either player but would not say if
they will practice on Thursday. Cutler hopes to return against the
Cowboys but was noncommittal during his weekly appearance on
Chicago’s WMVP-AM 1000.
On Monday, the big topic of discussion was the decision to turn
to Gould rather than try to shorten the distance.
The Bears were moving the ball after Minnesota’s Blair Walsh had
a 39-yard field goal wiped out by a holding penalty and missed a
Chicago took over at its 47. Matt Forte ran for 24 yards over
the next five plays to put the ball on the 29, and that’s where
Trestman decided it was time to end this thing.
So he called on Gould, one of the most accurate kickers in
league history, but the plan backfired.
Minnesota went the other way for a winning 34-yard field goal by
Walsh that dealt a serious blow to Chicago’s playoff hopes and
sparked a discussion about Trestman’s decision.
Why didn’t he call at least another play to try to get closer,
particularly given how the offense has moved this season and the
defense has struggled?
Trestman said the ball was in the middle of the field, the kick
was within Gould’s range and he didn’t want to risk a penalty or a
But is the angle of the kick that important in a dome, where
there’s no wind?
Something else to consider: Although Gould is 6 of 7 on attempts
from the 40 to the 49 this season, he’s just 72.2 percent from that
range in his career.
By comparison, he’s converted 90.6 percent on attempts from the
30 to 39.
”I didn’t do it from an analytics standpoint,” Trestman said.
”I did it from having been around Robbie the entire year and
knowing how he kicks the ball and watching him kick in practice. I
had no doubt that he was going to make the kick. You could say that
about any kick. But there wasn’t analytics involved as much as
there was, we’re clearly in his range. We’re in the middle of the
field. We don’t know what’s going to happen on the next play, but
it has a chance of not being in the middle of the field. I thought
that was well worth the risk.”
He did not consider the possibility of fatigue playing a role in
the miss, with Gould playing just hours after the birth of his
The decision to attempt a field goal also went against the grain
of a coach who’s been willing to gamble. Trestman’s gone for it on
fourth down several times this season, including a key fourth-and-1
conversion that helped seal a win at Green Bay.
”Every decision to do the things that we do, are based on this
game,” Trestman said. ”So I didn’t call on other experiences in
other weeks, other than to make the decision that was best for our
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