When Bears running back Michael Bush broke into the clear with 2:17 remaining in Sunday’s game against the Browns, he had an instant to make a decision: Run to the end zone for a touchdown that would give the Bears a 38-24 lead, or take a knee so the Bears could simply run out the clock and win the game?
Bush chose the 40-yard touchdown. But he acknowledged afterward that strategically, it would have made more sense to go down once he had picked up the first down. Cleveland was out of timeouts, so all the Bears would have had to do was kneel down three times after the two-minute warning and seal the win. Bush, however, has had a quiet season and wanted to make a big play.
“I know that I probably needed to go down, the smart play would have been go down and take a knee. But my plays are limited. I am going to take advantage of the opportunities I have,” Bush said, via the Chicago Tribune.
Bush is right: That would have been the smart play, and it’s a play that other running backs, including Brian Westbrook and Maurice Jones-Drew, have made. But Bush said the Bears’ coaches didn’t ask him to go down.
“No,” Bush said. “If they did I would have told them, ‘I’m sorry,’ with a smile on my face. It worked out for us.”
After Bush’s touchdown, the Browns got the ball back and scored a touchdown of their own with 59 seconds remaining. The Bears recovered the subsequent onside kick and ran out the clock. But if the Browns had recovered the onside kick, scored again and won the game, there would be some uncomfortable questions for Bush today about why he didn’t make the smart play.