The Bears were set to line up for a 46-yard field goal to try to score for the first time this season when officials huddled on a soggy Soldier Field and threw a flag.
Rookie punter Trenton Gill, who was serving as the Bears’ holder in his first NFL game, had brought a towel out on the field to try to try to new sod before kicker Cairo Santos attempted his kick. He put the towel on the grass where he would have set the football down and tamped down on it. Santos stepped on the towel, too, to try to dry the grass. Gill then flung the towel behind him, where it landed on the grass.
It was illegal. All of it.
He was called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty by referee Clay Martin because “he brought a towel out on the field in a dead-ball period to wipe the field down.” The Bears, pushed back, had to punt instead — and eventually went into the locker room at halftime down 7-0.