Sunday’s 23-20 Vikings overtime victory over the Bears had so many twists and turns that many things might eventually be forgotten about it.
One thing that won’t, particularly in Chicago: coach Marc Trestman’s decision to send out Robbie Gould for a 47-yard field goal attempt on second down in overtime instead of try to gain more yards on offense.
Trestman is getting it pretty good from all sides for the decision, and for good reason. Here is a little sampling of what has been written:
From USA Today: “Any blame going around Chicago shouldn’t be on Gould. It falls squarely on coach Marc Trestman.”
From the Chicago Tribune: “The blame for the Bears falling to .500 and realistically out of the NFC North race fell squarely on the sagging shoulders of coach Marc Trestman.”
From the Chicago Sun Times: “The Bears-Vikings game was one of the dumbest, craziest games in recorded history even before coach Marc Trestman got the left side of his brain around it. And then he dumbed it down to the Earth’s mantle.”
Given a chance to second-guess himself Monday, Trestman didn’t bite. “I felt at the time it was in the best interests of the team considering the circumstances, being on the road and the noise and being in Robbie’s range,” Trestman told WBBM-AM 780.
But while 47 yards is certainly within Gould’s range, there are these facts: Gould is supremely accurate, making about 86 percent of his career attempts to rank among the best in NFL history. What difference would another 10 or 20 yards make for someone so accurate?
Well, in his career Gould is 77-for-85 (90.6 percent) on field goals from 30-39 yards. He has NEVER missed from inside 29 yards in 73 career attempts. But from 40-49 yards? He’s 65-for-90 (72.2 percent). While that still means he is likely to make it from 47 yards, he is much better from a little closer, just as many kickers are.
As it was, the kick went just wide, the Vikings got the ball back and won that dumb, crazy game. By the way, it was the first time all season Minnesota held an opponent to fewer than 23 points. The Vikings were 7-0 in such games last season.