Aftershocks from a weekend of NFL tumult…
It's ancient, irrelevant history at this point, but talking with one veteran inside observer on Monday, it was noted that Marc Trestman was “right” after all in having Robbie Gould try his field goal on second down against Minnesota.
Trestman laid out negative possibilities that affected his thinking in not running a couple more plays to get Gould closer. One was the prospect of a penalty moving the ball out of field-goal range.
Exactly that happened to his Bears in Cleveland. Twice.
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From the Cleveland 24, fourth-and-one, the Bears lost five yards on an unlikely false-start flag on Alshon Jeffery. OK, what’s five yards? The Bears settle for a field goal rather than going for a fourth-down conversion.
But Gould’s successful boot of 46 yards was nullified by a holding penalty on Corey Wootton. Now the Bears are out of range and have to punt, trailing 10-3. The play was forgotten in the Cutler-induced points tsunami in the fourth quarter but it could very much have been a game-altering situation.
Not that Trestman ever considered kicking on second down in Cleveland. But he’d seen the Vikings “penalty” themselves out of a field goal, was concerned that the same could deprive the Bears of their chance, and best guess is that he had played out last Sunday’s scenario up in Minneapolis a couple weeks ago.
Trestman says he doesn’t deal in hypotheticals. Don’t believe it. He may say that, but that’s exactly what head coaches do at the highest levels: like mock drafts, be prepared by playing out all the “what-if’s” before they happen.
Around the NFC North
When I noted on our Comcast “Bears Pregame Live” show a couple weeks ago that the Detroit Lions would take the pipe and choke the season away, no, I did not foresee it to this degree – losing four of their last five, highlighted (if you’re a Bear or fan) by Monday’s debacle, at home, against Baltimore.
The net is that the NFC North division immediately became the Bears’ to lose, but even more than that, it could all be over on Sunday night.
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If the Lions lose (unlikely; it’s vs. the Giants, who quit last weekend vs. Seattle, but the Lions after all have lost to Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay in their latest swoon), their max win total for the year is eight. The Bears can go to nine with a win at Philadelphia.
If the Green Bay Packers lose, their win-max is eight as well. And the Packers draw the Steelers, who played on Sunday vs. Cincinnati like they still envision postseason standing at 6-8.