Of course, we all anticipated that Patrick Mannelly would be the key player in this Bears-Packers rockfight, right?
No? Well, it’s looking like he might be.
The Bears long snapper just made a fourth-quarter decision that paved the way for the Packers to kick the go-ahead field goal.
Here’s what happened. On fourth-and-11 from the Chicago 26, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was sprinting to get off the field to avoid a penalty for too many men on the field. Mannelly, apparently seeing Matthews sprinting for the sideline, audibled to a direct snap to the short man in punt formation, Garrett Wolfe.
Trouble was, Matthews made it to the sideline with ease and Wolfe got crushed. So Chicago gave the ball over inside their 30. And Bears coach Lovie Smith challenged with no chance of getting the play overturned and lost the timeout.
And Mason Crosby eventually banged in the field goal for Green Bay.
In theory, it sorta makes sense. If Matthews was still on the field and the Bears didn’t pick up the first, you just accept the penalty and rekick 5 yards further upfield. If you do pick up the first, you just continue the drive. But (A) Wolfe didn’t seem to process the audible and (B) Matthews was off the field.
As Cris Collinsworth said on the NBC telecast, “Lovie Smith will have some explaining to do.”
We’ll see if Jay Cutler can make this a footnote.