High to low: Emotional day for Bears kicker Robbie Gould
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter December 1, 2013 9:24PM
Updated: December 1, 2013 10:09PM
MINNEAPOLIS — Kicker Robbie Gould’s throat snagged and stopped.
“It was a lot of lessons in one day,” he said. “It really was.”
Hours after witnessing the birth of his first child, a son, Gould flew from Chicago to Minnesota on Sunday morning.
By halftime, he was one field goal away from tying Mike Vanderjagt as the NFL’s most accurate kicker.
As regulation expired, he left a 66-yard prayer short.
And in overtime, with perhaps the Bears’ playoff life on the line, he pushed a 47-yarder wide right.
In a losing locker room, he was matter-of-fact about the miss.
“I didn’t do it,” he said after the 23-20 defeat.
“I didn’t have it. I missed it. I wasn’t nervous. I just missed.
‘‘If you want to put the blame somewhere, it falls right on me.”
That he spent the night with his wife was certainly no excuse, he said, talking about how awesome his wife was with the birth.
“It was one of the greatest days of my life,” he said. “I’m happy for my wife and my little boy.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t do it for my teammates the way I did for my wife this morning.
“So, oh, man. It’s hard to swallow.
“We’re in a playoff hunt. I love my teammates just like I love my wife and my baby.
“And we just didn’t do it today.”
The Bears could have continued running the ball — Matt Forte averaged 4.5 yards per carry on the previous five plays — rather than have Gould try the 47-yarder on second down. Coach Marc Trestman said he feared his team would commit a penalty and move farther away.
“It was in my range,” Gould said. “I make that kick a lot. I just gotta step up and make it.”
Corey Wootton, who’s on the Bears’ field-goal team, said that “not everyone’s perfect all the time — but he’s perfect a majority of the time.”
Linebacker Blake Costanzo “would have bet my left arm” on Gould, who before Sunday had missed one field goal all year.
“I would have bet my life on it,” he said. “Shoot.”
Gould was good on his first two, making him 229-for-265 on his career.
Before the 66-yard miss, he was one successful kick from tying Vanderjagt’s 86.5 percent — on, amazingly, the same number of attempts.
The 47-yarder wouldn’t have gotten the record — but it would have been even more sweet.
“I’m at 86-point-what? Well, it’s probably gonna go down now,” Gould said. “But before that, I had a chance to take over the No. 1 spot.
“A kicker like that has to come through for his teammates in the end.”