In a Redskins-Bears game that looked like a three hour edition of “NFL Follies,” perhaps the most egregious error came from Bears coach Lovie Smith.
In Monday’s Ten-Pack, Florio did a good job explaining how Smith failed to challenge a Jay Cutler fumble at the goal line. (And if Florio didn’t do a good job, I’d have to say so anyway per PFT bylaws.) The play almost certainly would have been overruled and called a touchdown.
Smith admitted his error on Monday.
“You guys want to know about that on whether I should have thrown the
red flag on the 1-yard fumble down by the end zone,” Smith said per Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
“Yes, I should have,
looking at it of course in hindsight. Normally if there
is a critical situation, I throw it whether I have a good look or not on
it. Didn’t have a great look on it. I understand the reason why, but
that was a critical play in the game. I need to be able to make that call.”
This was the most unforgivable coaching mistake of the year. The non-challenge was the biggest play in the game. A successful challenge would have given the Bears a 21-10 lead.
It’s insane to think Smith didn’t challenge the play at home, especially when you consider one likely factor in his decision.
We think Smith didn’t challenge the play largely because he lost a bad challenge on the play before. He essentially was flustered and didn’t want to look bad and lose all his challenges on back-to-back plays.
On the play before, Smith challenged the ruling of the spot of the ball on a 48-yard completion to Earl Bennett, even though he was set up with a first-and-goal at the one-yard-line. That says a lot about the confidence he has in his offensive line.
His players probably feel the same about Smith’s ability to make critical game management decisions in the heat of the moment.