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Free Play Costs Bears Plenty

Officials missed an offsides and Justin Fields tried to take advantage with a deep ball and all he got for the efforts was an interception that stood.

The Bears wanted consistency from their own offense.

They would have also liked some from the officials, in Sunday's 24-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

The Bears sounded a bit more confused than they did like whiners after one play in particular, but were left scratching their heads over three plays in all.

A Justin Fields interception came about because he saw the opportunity for a free play to Allen Robinson in the end zone due to an apparent offsides. Fields threw from near midfield to the end zone and Packers safety Darnell Savage picked it off, but there was no flag for the neutral zone infraction and Green Bay got the ball. 

"I mean, I saw him jump," Fields said. "After he jumped, I saw Sam (Mustipher) snap the ball and I threw the ball downfield. 

"Wanted A-Rob to go down the middle and when he picked it off. I was confused on why there weren't any flags on the ground. So I don't know if the refs just missed that or he didn't jump offsides or what."

Mustipher knows what he saw.

"Yeah. He came across the football, I thought it was a free play," Mustipher said. "I snapped the football, that's why Justin threw it up. So yeah."

It's difficult to fix blame to Fields on the play when replays showed the obvious jump that went unflagged but there's no doubt the play cost the Bears a scoring chance. They had moved it to Green Bay's 47 on the previous play and it was standard operation procedure to heave it for the end zone once the jump occurred.

"Oh, for sure. Throw it down field. You got a free play," Fields said. "Really, in my mindset on that, we already have 5 yards, it's going to be 1st-and-5 or we can get a potential downfield throw, potential PI or potential big play. 

"So just happened to not be a flag on that play. So can't really do anything about it."

The Bears offense seemed to vanish with that play. They didn't score again until the fourth quarter.

"I feel like that's where our momentum had left us," said wide receiver Darnell Mooney, who brought some of it back later in the fourth quarter with a 5-yard TD catch.

Fields wasn't too happy about the way he was treated near the Packers sideline after being run out of bounds in the first half, either. He felt he'd been subjected to too much contact. 

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Officials seemed to have little problem calling a penalty in the first half on Mario Edwards for taunting after a hit on Aaron Rodgers, but nothing was said of the "double tackle" on Fields along the sideline.

"I was just talking to (the official), for real," Fields said. "I wanted to just get on the same page with him on what he saw and what I felt, because I'm not sure—we talked after the fact. 

"He said that he tackled me and then he rolled over me or something like that, but I thought he was just doing a little bit too extra stuff. But again, my eyes weren't on that. It was just something I felt. He could've seen something completely different."

Another problem the Bears had was getting a play off just before halftime after getting to Green Bay's 33. They were flagged for delay of game when they were trying to run a two-minute offense. The penalty set up a bad down-and-distance situation and then a sack pushed the out of field goal range. 

"Yeah I don't know what was up with that," Fields said. "I don't know if the play clock didn't reset, but when we broke the huddle there was like four or five seconds left on the play clock."

Fields did make a signal for a timeout before the penalty was called and the Bears had one left. The officials didn't grant the timeout.

"So I was trying to talk to the ref, wondering about the play clock, what was going on with that, and then I tried to call timeout," Fields said. "He didn't see me so I'm not sure."

The Bears managed to waste a timeout without the officials' assistance at the start of the second quarter. They challenged on a play that came up short of the sticks but was ruled a first down for Green Bay. The Bears won the challenge, but because coach Matt Nagy called the timeout before the challenge, the officials took away their timeout anyway. 

Actually, Nagy had to call the timeout because the Packers tried to get to the next play without the review.

"They were going no-huddle," Nagy said. "They were going fast. And we know that they do that. 

"In a perfect world, you'd love to be able to challenge it and not have that timeout happen, but we didn't have time to be able to see it and really have confirmation. So I was trying to buy us some time. It's that risk-reward again. You'd love to be able to challenge it and save that extra timeout, but we lost the timeout but saved the challenge and we got the fourth down."

The Packers picked up the fourth down anyway on a quarterback sneak.

It was just that kind of day for the Bears, who would have had no luck at all if they didn't have bad luck on this day.

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