Bears coach John Fox won a challenge he wished he would have lost in Sunday afternoon’s 23-16 loss to the Packers.
Fox challenged that running back Benny Cunningham was not out of bounds at the 2-yard-line with just over eight minutes left in the first half because he thought Cunningham had scored. After consulting with New York, referee Tony Corrente announced that Cunningham had actually lost control of the ball before hitting the pylon and the fumble went out of the end zone to give the Packers the ball on a touchback.
“Looking at the review, he did not step out of bounds and started lunging toward the goal line,” Corrente said via a pool report distributed by the Bears. “As he was lunging toward the goal line, he lost the ball in his right hand first, probably, I’m going to guess, 2 feet maybe short of the pylon. As he got even closer, the left hand came off. We had to put together two different angles in order to see both hands losing the football. After he lost it the second time, it went right into the pylon. Which creates a touchback.”
Fox said after the game that “every indication we had was that he scored” and that Cunningham losing the ball never crossed anyone’s mind.
“Maybe you can see [Cunningham fumble] after looking at it 50 times, like some people are able to do,” Fox said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “But during out look, during the game, that wasn’t even discussed.”
Cunningham was one of those people who could see the fumble as he said after the game that he thought the refs made the correct call and plenty of people would argue that Fox would have been better off taking a first down off the original call than risking a timeout for two yards at that point in the game.