Chicago Sun-Times

Lovie Smith regrets not challenging goal-line play

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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.

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27 Comments

No kidding. I regret it too.

"I need to be able to make that call."

What the $@&% does that mean?????

The Redskins shouldn't have given the game ball to Hall but rather to Lovie, who let this team down once again.

Isn't it obvious to everyone? Lovie's a defensive guy. You know how he passed up on those fgs that would have taken the lead in the Lions and Packers game? He wants his defense to get the safety there. Forget making the right calls, he'd rather see a safety than win the game.

This was an IDIOTIC move by the people upstairs for the Bears. I'm not even a Bears fan. I hate the Redskins. But if the TV replay clearly showed Cutler stretch the ball out and, in plain sight, the ball broke the plane of the goal-line's front edge? Why can't the guys making thousands and thousands of dollars that are paid to see that in the booth for the Bears not call down to Smith and tell him that it was a TD and the ball broke the plane.

Well....at least the Redskins fans can't blame Haynesworth for something this week. LOL.

All you fans and media that lathered up Lovie's hind end ever since he got here, especially during his lucky 2006 season with your "Pay Lovie", "Resign Lovie" campaign is why he's still here. You people deserve what's happening. Now, knock it off and Lovie will coach himself out of town and then we can get a real coach and win the darn SB!

Lovie didn't make the call because he was affraid he was going to look bad. He just lost one challenge and he let that dictate what he would do. He was affraid to make the call, it's just that simple, he was more worried about how he would look.

Mike of course Lovie is all about the defense, just look at the draft, the Bears biggest concern for 3 years has been the O-Line, they have done nothing to address that and have focused on the defense. Look where most of the money on the team is. It's on the defense. They get the money, they get the picks they get the big FA and trades. Outside of the Cutler trade when was the last big trade the Bears made for offense. They will trade for Gains Adams but not Logan Mankins.

Look at the arrogant comments he has been making about Cutler sense he got here. "He's a big strong guy, we expect him to get hit and we expect him to get up." Not many other coaches around the league are that ok with their QB getting pummeled.

Who is the number 1 rated QB in the NFL? Manning, 16 sacks in 22 games. He has never been sacked 30 times in a season. Same for Brees.

Lovie has little to nothing to do with the offense and just expects them to be good with whatever scraps he throws there way. Had a problem with the D-Line so he got Peppers. Had a bigger problem with the O-Line they got Brandon Malumalalalala. Seems a little one sided. Lovie could care less about the offense. QB is getting killed? Oh well. Can't run the ball? Oh well. Your recievers suck? Oh well. You hired a OC who is about the worst fit for you QB as you could find? Oh well, he's my friend. You tried this offense once before with Shea and it was an epic faliure? Oh well. Your not getting enough pressure with your front 4? Get me Julius Peppers, trade a second round pick for Adams.

What's going to happen in the draft, Tommie Harris get's replaced in the first round.

Lovie believes you win on defense, well the Jets and Ravens feel that way too. Except both those teams have no problem addressing needs on the offense like the O-Line. Need help at reciever they go get a reciever. Need help running the ball they go get rusher. No Lovie wants to make his defense look good and that is all he cares about.

that was a new low for coaching, even by dismal Wade Phillips standards.

i wondered why, during an entire commercial break due to change in possession, not one person upstairs for the Bears was able to tell Lovie to challenge the play? no one? they only showed the ball breaking the plane about 3 times before the break and 18 times afterward.

what is the point of having "staffers" upstairs if they can't make this call?

i couldn't believe it when after all that time passed I saw the Redskins snap the ball and officially go past the point of any review.

Lovie's rationale was beyond unacceptable. an NFL game is rarely, if ever, "in control", and even if it was you never ever voluntarily give points back and possession on an assumption well, we'll just get it back later.

i watch the Cowboys and their hideous coach bumble around weekly, but this gaffe was right up there with Wade in some of the dumbest things I've ever seen. truly astonishing.

Lovie and Wade ought to be coaching in the UFL or XFL or anything but the NFL.

Didn't that cardboard cutout say the same thing 2 years ago about the squib kick against the Falcons?
If the people in charge had any guts and/or brains, this being the bye week, this would be the perfect time to fire Martz or Lovie or Angelo or better yet clean house and promote Dave Toub the new interm head coach of these hapless players we refer to as our beloved Bears!! Go Bears, keep on losing!

Creighton,

I hadn't seen that quote but I have no problem believing Lovie said it. Remember that laughable Giants game where Cutler was getting pounded into hamburger meat and Lovie said post-game that were it not for the concussion, he would have left Cutler out there to continue to take a beating.

I remember the Bears-Seahawks game in '07 where Benson rushed for 63 yards on his first two carries of the game. Lovie PULLED Benson from the game shortly thereafter because he wanted to get Adrian Peterson some more touches. I mean, no one's that stupid, are they? Or like Tripper mentioned in the '08 Atlanta game, victory would have been pretty much assured for any other coach/team except for Lovie. Eleven seconds was all it took to lose a game.

Atta' boy Lovie. Thanks for making Chicago proud:

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/10/25/lovie-smith-regrets-non-challenge-candidate-for-biggest-coaching-gaffe-of-the-season/

By the way, where is Lovie's #1 fan Chuck?

Hey Tripper that's a insult to cardboard cutouts.

Your the worst head coach in the NFL Smith and your boss is the worst GM in the NFL, the sooner you two are gone, the better off we all will be !!!

Granted Lovie blew the call but he was not the reason why we lost this game. It was our star quarterback who made Deangelo Hall look like Dieon Sanders. Good quarterbacks make plays when it counts. Jay Cutler is the reason why we lost this game period. Who we gonna blame for his mishaps this time Turner? Martz?

This is the same guy who got Shanahan fired with his erratic inconsitent plays in Denver. We still don't have a QB

Hey Ray go back and look at the game, 2 picks were due to the receivers. Knox and Hester have NO clue what they are doing out there yet Lovie and Martz keep putting those 2 out there. Lovie did lose this game because of his indecision, you challenge that play you are up 21-10. Redskins play calling is changed then, more passing then running, more opportunityfor turnovers. Yes Cutler contributed and he stepped up and took blame haven't heard Martz take blame for anything, have you. Hey Mike weren't you the #2 Lovie fan just a few weeks ago? I could be wrong and maybe Creighton could help me out, but I remember after the 3rd game you were complaining about the people who were posting on here how Lovie needed to be fired. Now you seem to be the biggest Chuck and Lovie basher, at least Chuck just stopped posting. I give credit to Chuck for sticking to his guns and not jumping ship. Just my opinion!!!!!!!!!!

Lovie and his crew are idiots. No doubt about it. But, how pathetic are the refs? They couldn't see the ball cross the plane? They got two guys on either side whose only job is to do just that. Every time there's a close play all they do is look at each other to see if someone has the balls to make the call. And then they still get it wrong.

Well, now...it's good to see some of the "kool-aid mustache wearing" people coming over to the light. It might be construed as whining, but we'll let it slide. I could be a little off, but of the regulars that post on here, there was only a handful {you could probably count on 1 hand} who were pointing out this team's disficiencies 6 weeks ago. And the simple minded accused us of hating the team or not wanting the team to win. All absurd statements.

What you have before you in the Bears is a very bad football team. It's like a hurricane that is over the ocean. It didn't just appear one day. It was formed over a period of time. Just like the mess at Halas Hall. S**t might flow downhill, but accountability goes all the way to the top. This mess falls squarely on the shoulders of 2 individuals. #1. Whoever really is in charge at Halas Hall. Whether that be Virginia or one of her flock of kids. And, #2. Jerry Angelo. Forget Phillips, he's a figure head who was promoted to do one thing. Negotiate a stadium deal with Daley. Michael McCaskey burned so many bridges, it was never going to get done. When it came time to hiring a GM {almost 10 years ago} Phillips brought in a search firm. You know that came from the "business first" McCaskey's above him.

The first person is to blame because they're the top of the food chain. They have allowed and enabled the management staff to continue along this road of mediocrity and below average performaces. And one of the big missconceptions is that the McCaskeys are cheap. The old man was cheap {ask Ditka}, but these people do toss money around. Look at Brian Cox, Peppers, Daniels, Taylor, and there have been others. But in almost every case it has been knee jerk reactions based off of years of horrible drafting.

The second person {Angelo} is to be held responsible because he has failed in nearly every aspect of his job. How can he be expected to draft well, if he and his staff can't recognize talent. Year after year of failing on roughly 80% of your draft choices has caught up with him in a monster of a way. And if Rick Morrisey's column today is any indication, Angelo and Smith might be around next year. {Provided that there is football.} Maybe that's the reason he didn't trade for either Mankins, Jackson, or McNeil. It is possible with the pending work stoppage that they have been told {or at least he has} that they will be back. That though alone makes me want to puke in my mouth.

Ray,
Have you ever seen a kid who is being tutored a certain subject and you can just tell that no matter how much the teacher/tutor explains the indepth concepts of the subject, the kid doesn't grasp it past the basics. That is you with regard to the pigskin. As I stated in a blog yesterday; if Lovie hadn't messed up the Bennett challenge and had challenged the Cutler sneak, the game is 21-10 and at that point the Bear's approach is much different and so is the Redskins'. I am going to guess that maybe he doesn't throw 2 of the picks at that point. Is Cutler to blame for making mistakes? Absolutely. And he didn't get Shannahan fired. He was a pro bowl QB in Shannahan's last year. It was years of complacency and MEDIOCRITY that got him fired. And it obviously woke him up. In 2-3 years the skins will probably be a 12-4/11-5 team with a good young QB, nice offensive line, a really good running game that can close out games, and a pretty good defense.

Anonymous,
Ever actually been on a real football field? Far be it for me to defend officials, but for the most part they get it right. On a goal line play you have roughly 16-18 players within 3-4 feet of the goal line and upon the snap of the ball they're moving about at a pretty frantic pace. On top of that, the two officials standing on the goal line are outside the field of play. Even if the ball was in the middle of the field that would put them roughly 80' away from the apex of the play. That's why they have instant replay. The responsibility of that play falls squarely on the shoulders of Lovie and he alone.

I don't care what Lovie thinks about anything anymore; the dude is , and has been, in total denial. That Superbowl year threw everything in disarray. Folks thought he was the next coming of Ditka and Papa Halas, but all he is is Dick Jauron; LUCKY or terrible.

He had such little confidence in his teams chances of scoring fron 1st and goal that he challenged a call the naked eye at full speed saw was a losing cause. Then he lost even more composure by choking on the next immediate chance.

It takes only ONE major moment to change the whole of the game, and that was it.

Lovie lost it, and Lovie's lost it.

Then again, he never had it.

You know for years people have pointed out to me Lovie Smith's record. They always tell me it's above 500. I always tell them that's nice, and then I ask "what is his record the last 3 1/2 seasons?" The answer is 500. Outside of two good years, that's 2 out of 7 years, he is well below 500. Outside of two years he has either been bad or mediocre. A coach could spend 10 years going 9-7 and be well above 500, he probably also have never made the playoff's. If he did it was once or twice.

You can't be a head coach if you only look out for half your team. You can't play favorites, you can't constantly look D-Line when the O-Line is the far bigger problem, you can't do that. Your a head coach not DC with the keys to the candy store.

Rex Ryan is as defensive minded as it gets. But he had no problem bringing in LT, trading up to draft a QB in the first round of 09, drafting a RB high in 09, drafting O-line in the second round this year, for an already stacked O-Line. He is constantly involved with the offense.

Lovie lets the OC run the offense and does not get involved with the offense. He has even said it before about Turner "Oh that's his side of the ball." No it's not, it's your team, your on both sides of the ball now.

The Bears don't have a head coach, they have a DC with controling power and an OC. He is selfish, he is petty and he is all about him and his defense. No head coach in the league would left the Bears line the way it was, not one. No head coach worth his salt would have brought in Martz and paired him with Cutler. There is a reason he was out of work. No head coach would have let Martz continue to call deep drops and not run the ball in that NY game. Every coach in the league knows if you want to win you keep your QB clean and all of them try to do it except one.

Their is only one head coach in the league that not only has done nothing to protect his QB, he has actually done things and let things happen that make the protection worse. Do they run the ball? No, even when they need to they don't do it. Have they gone to mostly 3 step drops and qucik drops? No they still focus on the 5 and 7 step deep drops. Does Lovie stop that when his QB is getting killed? No. What has he done to help the offense? Ever?

Gearhead,

You say "far beit for me to defend officials" and then you go ahead and defend them. Sorry, I don't buy the excuses. If you want to argue that it's not an easy call to make fine. But so what. The NFL is a multi-billion dollar industry. Careers are ruined on missed calls like that. Get people who can get it right. Instant replay didn't help the Dolphins when the refs screwed that call up and lost the game for them. Lovie is a complete idiot for not challenging, but if the refs get the call right, he's never put in that position. The refs have to take some of the blame.

Guys, while I share your disappointment, wishing the Bears suffer through a miserable season just so that Lovie and Jerry get jettisoned is sad, especially if you are a Bears fan. The time for that will come, when it comes. I see no point in wishing for it to come sooner at the expense of having your favorite team lose, especially when the next guy in line may fair no better than Lovie (31 out of 32 teams are eventually doomed to fail anyway).

One thing I like about Lovie’s tenure is that he runs a pretty tight ship, and guys are united behind him. You don’t have players complaining about or pointing fingers at the coaches or other players, the coaches don’t throw guys under the bus, there are no off-the-field distractions, and players and fans can all concentrate on the game.

But for all of the reasons all of you are pointing out, and then some, it’s pretty obvious that Lovie does not have “IT.” He doesn’t have the innate ability to help his team win. He doesn’t have that instinct. I don’t recall a single game altering or team changing decision that helped this team win. And it was on display with the failed challenge and non-challenge against the Redskins. It was on the first drive of the 2nd half, with the Bears offense suddenly coming alive at the end of the 1st half, and continuing on that momentum. A TD there would have completely changed the complexion of the game. That wouldn’t guarantee a win, but carrying that momentum to a score would have had a big effect on the rest of the game. I don’t know if the guys in the booth provided Lovie with adequate information to make a proper judgment on the challenge, but it doesn’t matter; he just doesn’t have IT.

With the coaches not helping the team with their decision making (passing too much, using the wrong personnel, and a host of other problems), the players have to execute. I for one think there is enough talent on this team for it to become pretty good. But the players are executing poorly and making too many mistakes. The players have to take it upon themselves to make it work.

Also, let’s give credit to the Skins, also. They made plays. Hall, a veteran CB, owned Knox and Hester, and read a lot of their routes perfectly and got himself in the right spot at the right time. Orakpo is not a pro-bowler for nothing; he’s a good player. And Haynesworth is not paid what he’s paid because a novice G like Williams can easily block him; he is a force when he’s on his game.

Hello boys. No one wants to see the Bears lose just to get rid of management, truth be told I don't have the confidence in the organization to get the right guys. Angelo was a farce from the start he took a career assistant and gave him the keys to the car without tires. Angelo has gotten nothing but retreads and hasbeens for the offense. The ultimate stupidity is two fold (1) hiring a coach from a indoor environment to run a outside cold weather team. (2) not upgrading the surface to even accomadate the system. The Bears have consistantly proven football has passed them by it's time to sell. But they will never do it so it's hit or miss, we hit in 85 flopped in 86 we hit in 06 we flopped in 07, 08, 09 and now.

I'm very tire of "Lovie and Cutler" you cannot have two guys with a passive personnel as your leader on a football team, that cannot happen and your team be successful in the NFL. Now let celebrate the lost of Lovie job after this year no more looking at the sideline seeing your headcoach with this dumpass look on his face. That look never motivated anyone but the enemy. So with that said I nominate myself as headcoach of the Chicago Bears for half the pay since "Lovie" is doing a half a_ _ job anyway, I figure I could dump my head in a bucket of s_ _ t and come up with the same look. twice on sunday during the game and after the game and smile when i go pickup my check.

Anonymous
The call in the Dolphin game was correct, even ex head of officals said that.Instant replay has made a lot of officials scared to make calls, but thats why coaches get to challenge.

Gearheadboy

Never said Lovie Smith was not at fault. But one thing the kid knows from his tutoring is that our Quarterback is not good. Even after the Lovie Smith blunder, we still had a chance to win that game and our QB could not make plays. There are no perfect scenarios; your playmakers have to make plays when it counts.

I am not drinking the Cutler Kool Aid like some other people. I don’t understand why people think Cutler is a “GOOD” Quarterback. Cutler is a turnover machine. He lacks basic fundamentals, never sets his feet correct. His never even had a rating over 90%, not even in Denver. Why all the love for Cutler

up rooted, may I suggest investing in a pair of reading glasses?

Show me once where I have ever praised Lovie on this blog. There's a link to the archives on the right there if that will help you out.

In fact, I've done nothing but ridicule his sideline demeanor, his inexplicable coaching decisions, the way he talks down to the media, the way he gives his best buddies jobs and so on for years now. Ask any of the regulars on here.

What I was upset about was how after the wins against DallAss and Green Bay, some people were complaining that the Bears didn't win in a way that was pleasing to them. For instance this one guy was whining how Romo had so many passing yards against our defense and boo hoo hoo it made him "feel nervous." Things like that tick me off because no matchup is a given and winning in the NFL is hard to do. But never have I had a kind word for that zombie with a head set on who has and will continue to collect millions from this organization when he is a fraud.

I was going to pass on this one but I think Lovie is catching too much flack. If Kreutz could block or anticipate a jump by the defense, which is not all that uncommon when it's a quarterback sneak stuation, there would be no static about not throwing a flag.Smith explained his rationale, and it was totally reasonable given the nature of the game to that point. Who can anticipate an interception being ru back 90 plus yards for a touchdown?

Paul while Olin has not been great he has not been bad either. He has been the best pass protector on the team. The big problem has been the rest of the line. The big problem has been the tackles and LG position. It was Chris Williams getting killed by Haynesworth that was a huge problem this game. The Bears where the first team in the nfl forced to double Haynesworth this year. Smith also said he was wrong and he made the wrong call. Smith never says he is wrong, so in order for him to admit it he must have been really, really, really wrong.

Mike this is the second time someone has called you a Lovie supporter. Now you and me have been on this blog a long time and I have read just about everyone of your posts. I don;t ever recall you liking Smith or being a fan of his in anyway at all. However given this is the second post by someone who has not been o nthe blog very long, about you being a fan of his, I can only assume you are a huge, no massive Lovie Smith fan. Admit it, he is your guy you worship Lovie. You find him handsome and brilliant, much the same way Brando and Kevin do. He is perfect in almost every way to you. His shinny bald head is like a beacon for your Bear love. Hahahahahahaha

Sorry Paul,

Lovie's rationale was not reasonable. You don't let a touchdown become a turnover and then say, "Oh well, I bet we'll get the ball back and score the next time around." when you have the power to do something about it. You've seen some games this year, when has it ever seemed that this offense was ever "in control" as Lovie put it?

And you're blaming Kreutz? Hello!? The play worked! Jay crossed the goal line. Sure the ref missed it but that's why coaches have challenges!

Wow man, just wow. If you don't think Lovie should be raked over the coals for this blunder then congrats, he'll probably stick around for at least a couple of years no matter how grossly incompetent he is and continues to be.

OK Mike my bad, I have no problem admitting when I make a mistake

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on October 25, 2010 3:00 PM.

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