Bears should have let 49ers score, John Fox defends decision not to

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After the two-minute warning on Sunday, the 49ers had the ball on the Bears’ 4-yard line, and the Bears, leading 14-12, were out of timeouts. At that point, the Bears’ best strategy would have been to allow the 49ers to score a touchdown, to give themselves time to try to score a touchdown of their own.

Instead, when the 49ers gave the ball to Carlos Hyde, the Bears tackled him. After that, Jimmy Garoppolo took a snap and kneeled down, killing the remaining time on the clock before the 49ers’ game-winning field goal.

So why didn’t Bears coach John Fox let the 49ers score? He said he thought the Bears had a better chance of blocking the 49ers’ field goal than of marching down the field for a touchdown in 90 seconds.

“We talked about it, but it would have had to be done at 1:36 or 1:40, whatever it was,” Fox said. “We felt good about the block we had on the potential field goal. Neither one of those are great options.”

It’s true that neither letting the other team score nor trying to block a chip-shot field goal is a good option. But of the two, letting the other team score is the better option. Fox should have let his rookie quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky, see if he could engineer a final touchdown drive after allowing the 49ers to score their own touchdown. He didn’t give the team that chance.

Of course, it’s possible that if the Bears had let the 49ers score, Hyde would have realized what was going on and gone down at the 1-yard line. But the Bears should have at least tried to let the 49ers get the touchdown, and give themselves a chance to score a touchdown after the ensuing kickoff. Instead the 49ers ran out the clock and won on a field goal.

45 responses to “Bears should have let 49ers score, John Fox defends decision not to

  1. You see it all the time. Most NFL head coaches would rather lose than intentionally give up a TD to the other team. It’s the old school mentality.

  2. exinsidetrader says:
    December 4, 2017 at 6:16 pm
    We all know which coach in the NFL has the smarts and stones to do that (and it ain’t John Fox)

    ———————————-
    That coach has a GOAT QB with a hugely successful record of getting the team down the field for a clutch game winning score. Fox doesn’t.

  3. In the grand scheme of things what does it matter? You see teams already out of contention scoring a TD and despite only being a point behind, decide that they’d rather go for two and avoid overtime. If either team was playing for something meaningful then it would of course be different. As neither had anything on their mind except draft position and perhaps some old school bragging rights, I think we can all move along as there’s nothing to see here.

  4. 10-6 isn’t good enough! The Bears fired a coach who was 10-6. Went to a Super Bowl and won 18 games OVER 500. They have never recovered, fact. 2004 5-11, 2005 11-5, 2006 13-3, 2007 7-9,2007 7-9,2007 7-9,2010 11-5, 2011 8-8,2012 10-6. I’m pretty sure the Bears are 30 to 40 games UNDER .500 since the firing.

    John Fox alone is 20 games under .500 and has the worst coaching record of any Bears coach in the history of the organization, fact.

  5. I bet Fox feels pretty good about sitting on a Floridian beach in January too. He knows he’s as good as fired and he’s probably going to consider it his retirement.

    Enjoy the beach for us, John

  6. I can’t tell you how many games I’ve watched where I thought, “they should let them score to give themselves a chance,” then for one reason or another, the team doesn’t score and the team I thought should let the other team score wins the game. There are so many things that can happen. Ever heard of a fumble?

  7. If you want to let a team score, nothing says the RB can’t fall down before the goal line. Like the Giants failed to do in the SBOWL against the Pats

  8. Bisky executing a long TD drive in 90secs or block the FG? Both are remote, and like you said, you’ve also got to assume the 9ers don’t wise-up to it when you don’t stop them. Also, Bisky has not lead a successful TD drive that started from his own half of the field, whereas Bears have blocked 3.6% of FGs. You go with the block attempt.

  9. .
    There’s 1:30 left and you need a TD to win.
    It’s exactly the type of situation you want your developing QB to face. And let’s face it, the current 49ers defense will never be compared to the steel curtain.
    .

  10. KIR says:
    December 4, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    10-6 isn’t good enough! The Bears fired a coach who was 10-6. Went to a Super Bowl and won 18 games OVER 500. They have never recovered, fact. 2004 5-11, 2005 11-5, 2006 13-3, 2007 7-9,2007 7-9,2007 7-9,2010 11-5, 2011 8-8,2012 10-6. I’m pretty sure the Bears are 30 to 40 games UNDER .500 since the firing.

    John Fox alone is 20 games under .500 and has the worst coaching record of any Bears coach in the history of the organization, fact.
    —————————————————————

    Fox is a lousy coach but you’re talking about Lovie Smith who had a whopping one win in Tampa and was fired after a season. They are each caveman coaches with no feel for today’s game. They should try hiring someone with an iq over 80 to help their QB they invested so much in. Coaches like Fox, Fisher, Del Rio, etc are too far behind.

  11. I remember Davis with the Broncos running sideways on the one yard line at the end of a game, then, giving himself up just shy of the sideline. Elway knelt out the clock for the win. So, it does happen occasionally if the running back thinks.

  12. Seriously look at Foxy’s time in Denver. This is his SOP and it cost it bigly re. his ‘safe’ decisions. Safe and stupid. Example A, look at our playoff game against the Ravens 2013. HE lost that friggin’ game with his deer in a headlights coaching. No surprise.

  13. I want to criticize Fox but somehow I think the odds of blocking a field goal is much better than the odds of Mitch Trubisky leading a game winning TD drive in 90 seconds.

  14. mrkbuilders says:
    December 4, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    Take it easy… Trubisky ain’t Brady
    ———————-

    No, but it’s not like the Bears had anything to lose by letting the guy give it a try.

  15. I guarantee that no one is going to realize within 4 yards of a touchdown that the other team is laying down.

  16. let the other team score? always a risky proposition. the bears have not demonstrated the ability to score at will as a very few teams have.

  17. Fox absolutely made the right decision, he just did it for the wrong reason. Losing is the best thing for the bears. Win games to what end? 6-10 at best? Smart play would have been for the 49ers to kneel on the ball and let the clock run out preserving their draft position. So really it’s the 49ers who screwed up.

  18. It’s a tough call either way. You would think your offense could get to midfield quickly to at least try Hail Mary passes.

    Buts it’s clear that Fox has zero confidence in the offense. That challenge gone bad with first and goal at the 1/2 yard line against Green Bay and this week choosing to attempt to block a field goal.

  19. mzew233 says:
    December 4, 2017 at 6:17 pm
    Imagine trading up the draft to pass on DeShawn Watson
    =====================================================

    And Patrick Mahomes too.
    What a cluster my Bears have become.
    All because they let George Halas’ grandsons step in and screw up everything by running away everyone that knew anything about football.
    Papa Bear left them in good hands and the brats just could not help themselves.

  20. patbutler87 says:
    December 4, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    10-6 isn’t good enough! The Bears fired a coach who was 10-6. Went to a Super Bowl and won 18 games OVER 500. They have never recovered, fact. 2004 5-11, 2005 11-5, 2006 13-3, 2007 7-9,2007 7-9,2007 7-9,2010 11-5, 2011 8-8,2012 10-6. I’m pretty sure the Bears are 30 to 40 games UNDER .500 since the firing.

    John Fox alone is 20 games under .500 and has the worst coaching record of any Bears coach in the history of the organization, fact.
    —————————————————————

    Fox is a lousy coach but you’re talking about Lovie Smith who had a whopping one win in Tampa and was fired after a season. They are each caveman coaches with no feel for today’s game. They should try hiring someone with an iq over 80 to help their QB they invested so much in. Coaches like Fox, Fisher, Del Rio, etc are too far behind.
    ______________________________________________________

    How’s that working out for Tampa? And what does that have to do with a coach going, 2010 11-5, 2011 8-8, 2012 10-6. His last 3 years who was 18 games over .500 and took a team to a Super Bowl? Again, the Bears are probably 40 games under .500 since the firing! That’s a difference of 60 wins.

  21. I’m holding Bears owners responsible for perpetuating this fiasco!! What more do they need to see before acting for the good of the franchise, City, and fans!!
    Inaction is not an option…DO SOMETHING!!!!

  22. So glad that Denver fired him & watched him try to rebuild Denver with Cutler, Marshall etc. All losers and none were missed. Fox is just looking for another payday while sitting at home. Put him out of his misery.

  23. Clock management, or really game management, has been terrible throughout Fox’s tenure in Chicago. This was another obvious example. Robbie has basically been a lock since he left Chicago, and giving Trubisky experience in a two minute drill would have been a positive. He opted for the 99% chance of losing and not to grow the QB. I cannot wait for him to get fired. He has been absolutely horrible as the HC in Chicago, and gets to go down in the team’s history books as it’s statistically worst coach.

  24. The Bears scored one TD offensively all game, and Fox does not have Peyton Manning, who is very good at scoring with little time on the clock. At that point in time, the Bears were still ahead. No coach is going to let the other team score deliberately because a field goal is not automatic. Blair Walsh missed a short one for Minnesota against Seattle in the playoffs. San Diego also lost games on missed final second field goals earlier this season. There is therefore a chance the 49ers can still lose on a missed or blocked field goal or a bad snap. Even though John Fox is not a very good coach, he made the right decision in terms of percentages.

  25. bartpkelly says:
    December 4, 2017 at 8:28 pm
    Hyde would have kneeled at the 1.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    No, he wouldn’t have. 2 reasons: 1) they were behind and 2) in today’s NFL personal stats/glory are paramount to most players. No way he gives up a potential game-winning TD just so the kicker can do it after some time runs off. NOT scoring would have been dumb as anything can happen like a bad snap, fumble, block or missed FG. In that scenario, you score and depend on the defense to not give up a TD

  26. The only thing that matters at this point in a lost season is developing your young QB. But Fox can’t even get that part right. 15 passes? 102 yards against the 30th ranked pass defense? That is shameful in general, but especially given your job as coach is to develop the kid.

    Pace needs to step in because of the investment they made in Trubisky to remove Fox and take the shackles off the offensive game plan. I don’t care if the kid throws 12 INTS over the last 4 games, as long as he gets some meaningful tape to review and learn from with the new coaching staff. Right now, he can only learn about catching the shotgun snap when it goes wonky from Whitehair, and how to hand off to Jordan Howard. Make him read defenses. Have him work sight adjustments with his receivers. They may be awful, but they are still professional football players, so they need to do their jobs. Have him work to his 3rd or 4th read on plays. Have him do the things that a successful QB in the NFL is going to need to do, and evaluate him. Let him learn based on mistakes, not from fear of making them.

    Fox coaches scared all the time. You can’t win like that. Denver showed that pretty clearly. Herm Edwards comically said it best. You play to win the game. Nobody should play not to lose. That was Lovie’s problem as the team started aging, and that is Fox’s problem. He won’t give them an opportunity to win the game, but he will hope they have a chance to not lose. When you play Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and Bradford/Keenum twice per year, you need to be able to be aggressive on offense to keep up. Fox won’t do that. They need someone who will.

  27. 10-6 isn’t good enough! The Bears fired a coach who was 10-6. Went to a Super Bowl and won 18 games OVER 500. They have never recovered, fact. 2004 5-11, 2005 11-5, 2006 13-3, 2007 7-9,2007 7-9,2007 7-9,2010 11-5, 2011 8-8,2012 10-6. I’m pretty sure the Bears are 30 to 40 games UNDER .500 since the firing.

    John Fox alone is 20 games under .500 and has the worst coaching record of any Bears coach in the history of the organization, fact.
    ———————————————————————————–

    There is a reason Lovie was referred to as the “bum slayer” as he was sub .500 against teams with a winning record. While he isn’t Fox hi MO is the same: Don’t go out and win games and let your opponent lose them. That mentality in today’s NFL is dead. And while you note Lovie’s tremendous record with the Bears, they had ONE playoff appearance in his last 4 years…ONE. That isn’t good enough. Winning isn’t about a good record, it’s about competing for that shiny trophy. The problem with most Bear fans is they are detached from reality because they forgot what winning is about…and it certainly isn’t about 10 wins and not making the playoffs.

  28. The odds of blocking a FG are pretty low. The odds of scoring a TD in 90 seconds, even for a bad team, are higher. Also, what’s the point of playing it safe when your season is over? Put your QB in a challenging situation and give him a game-ending drive to learn from, win or lose. John Fox is done.

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