HomeSports NewsThe Chicago Bears got stopped on fourth down against Green Bay

The Chicago Bears got stopped on fourth down against Green Bay


Let us make one thing perfectly clear at the outset.

None of what we are about to discuss would have changed the outcome of Sunday night’s game between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers.

Provided we are all crystal clear on that matter, we can proceed.

And look at how everything about that play was wrong.

First, let us set the stage. With under nine minutes left in the game, the Bears trail the Packers by 24-10. But Justin Fields and the Chicago offense are driving, and face a 3rd and goal at the Green Bay six-yard line. The second-year quarterback drops to throw, and as the pocket collapses around him, he tucks the football and races upfield, aiming for the pylon in the front-left corner of the end zone.

Fields encounters rookie linebacker Quay Walker along his path, and uses a stutter-step to try and get to the edge. The two players meet near the goal line, as Field extends the football for the pylon:

The play was initially ruled a touchdown, which would have cut this to a one-score game. But upon review, the ruling was changed, and Fields was ruled down at the one-yard line.

Setting the stage for fourth down.

Head coach Matt Eberflus kept his offense on the field, hoping offensive coordinator Luke Getsy would dial up the right call for the moment.

It is, well, unclear if QB Power out of the shotgun was the right call:

Running your quarterback does give you a numbers advantage as an offense, and on this play the Bears put Fields in the shotgun, giving the right guard time to pull, along with allowing David Montgomery to surge ahead as a lead blocker. But with Fields starting from the shotgun, instead of under center, he has more ground to cover, and the Packers defensive front has more time to fight into the backfield.

The ruling on the field was that Fields was stopped short of the end zone, and Chicago challenged the call.

This time there would be no reversal, and the Packers took over on downs. However, as was pointed out by many after the game, it certainly looked like Fields might have done just enough to inch the ball into the end zone. As you can see from the video, Fields secures the football in his right hand before plunging into the mass of humanity in front of him. From this still along the goal line, it looks like his hands have crossed into the end zone:

Again, there is no indication that a reversal of the fourth-down call, leading to a Bears’ touchdown, would have changed anything about Sunday night. Chicago has things to figure out, certainly on the offensive side of the football, as Fields finished the night having completed just 7 of 11 passes for 70 yards and an interception.

But plays like this serve as a reminder that with all the technology in the world, and players running around with tracking chips in their pads, we still rely on our eyes, and sometimes a pair of sticks tied together by a chain, to determine critical moments like this one.



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