GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Bears’ call for quarterback Justin Fields to line up in the shotgun for a dive into the end zone on a crucial play late in their loss to the Packers on Sunday was bizarre. But it almost worked.
The Packers stopped Fields short on his fourth-down run from the 1-yard line, and Bears coach Matt Eberflus challenged the ruling. After extensive replay review, there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call and give Fields the touchdown.
Running back David Montgomery, who was in the scrum as Fields tried to push across the goal line, thought the officials got it wrong. He also thought the call was, at least in part, a product of playing in Green Bay.
“I [saw] a touchdown,” Montgomery said. “I was right next to the ball. But, I mean, I wouldn’t expect anything less — we’re not in Soldier Field. Home-field advantage. Next time we’ve just gotta be sure that we put it in, no question marks.”
Fields also believed he got in, but added, “You have to face the facts,” once the call is final.
At that point, the fact was that the game was over. Instead of cutting the Packers’ lead to 24-17 with 8:07 remaining, the Bears remained down two touchdowns and the Packers got the ball back. Aaron Rodgers led them 89 yards, draining 5:39 in clock, for a field goal and won 27-10.
The play call itself, by offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, was maddening and reminiscent of the overthinking that got former head coach Matt Nagy in trouble. Getsy won’t address it until he speaks to the media Thursday.
Montgomery, who rushed for 122 yards at an average of 8.1 per carry, didn’t object to Fields getting the ball in that spot instead of him.
“I just wanted to score,” Montgomery said. “I didn’t care how we got in. And I feel like we scored.”