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.