Trestman not backing away from field goal decision

A day later, Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman wasn’t backing

down.

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

his mind.

”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

57-yarder.

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

fumble.

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

son.

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

team yesterday.”

Online:

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