Bears coach Lovie Smith accepted responsibility for not challenging quarterback Jay Cutler's goal-line sneak on the opening series of the third quarter.
"You guys want to know about that on whether I should have thrown the red flag on the 1-yard fumble down by the end zone. Yes, I should have, looking at it of course in hindsight," Smith said. "Normally if there is a critical situation, I throw it whether I have a good look or not on it. Didn't have a great look on it. I understand the reason why, but that was a critical play in the game.
"I need to be able to make that call."
In part, Smith didn't make that call because he had challenged the play just before. After a 48-yard catch by Earl Bennett, Smith challenged the officials' ruling that the receiver didn't get into the end zone. Referee Walt Anderson upheld the initial ruling, and the Bears were charged a timeout.
On the next play, though, Cutler kept the ball and pushed for the end zone. But he ran into Washington Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth at the goal line. Cutler reached the ball across the goal line but he had the ball knocked loose by linebacker London Fletcher.
Replays showed that the ball did cross the plane of the goal, meaning a challenge may have netted the Bears a touchdown, giving them a 21-10 lead.
"I had just used one up before that, and at the time I thought we were in control of the game," Smith said. "We've given the opponent the ball on the 1-yard line before and forced them to punt it, and I felt like we would get the ball back right away, which we did, and we would be able to get it back down."
Smith said he has staffers upstairs, with access to replays. Smith added that he didn't think of calling a timeout to buy himself more time to see Cutler's play again.
"Exactly what happened is what I thought about doing," Smith said. "I felt like we would get the ball back at the very worst and have another opportunity to get it in."
The Bears did get close again, reaching the Redskins' 13 yard-line. But, Cutler was intercepted by DeAngelo Hall, who returned the ball 92 yards for a touchdown.
Smith has successfully challenged only seven of 25 plays since the 2008 season.