- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- The Bears missed out on a scoring opportunity in the first quarter of their 27-21 win Thursday night over the New York Giants when they elected to go for a fourth down instead of taking what would have been a chip-shot field goal for Robbie Gould.
The three points the Bears bypassed could’ve come back to haunt them had the Giants scored a touchdown on their fourth-quarter drive that ended at the Chicago 26 on Tim Jennings' interception at the 10. But Bears coach Marc Trestman felt confident about the call.
“I did. I did," Trestman said. “We were hoping to score a touchdown, obviously.”
Instead, Jay Cutler's short pass to Brandon Marshall fell behind the receiver, who got his hands on the ball, but appeared to have three defenders in the vicinity. The incompletion came on fourth-and-2 from the New York 4, and was made possible by Zack Bowman’s interception and 24-yard return.
“I felt our defense was in a place that if we didn’t make it, they’d have to go the distance,” Trestman said. “If we did [make it], we could get some energy on Zack’s interception. Didn’t happen that way. The good part about it [is] we bounced back. We came back on what was really our official first drive, went down and scored.”
But only after Jennings picked off an Eli Manning pass on New York’s ensuing drive that was intended for Rueben Randle, and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown to put the Bears up 7-0 after the extra point.
Prior to the failed fourth-down conversion, the Bears had converted 80 percent of fourth-down attempts through the first five games, which represented the best percentage in the NFL.
“Yeah, yeah, we talked about [the possibility of going for it on fourth down] this morning,” Cutler said. “[I] like the call. We’ve just got to get it in front of ‘B’ a little more. Maybe we’ll get the first down there and maybe he breaks the first tackle and gets in. [I] like the confidence doing it at home, and we started a free possession for us.”