What it's like to kick a game-winning field goal

Robbie Gould, Adam Podlesh and Patrick Mannelly never had a doubt

November 01, 2012|By Jack M Silverstein | For RedEye

With the Bears trailing Carolina 19-7 in the fourth quarter Oct. 28, Robbie Gould lined up for a "gimme" 33-yard field goal—and missed it. Fortunately for the Bears, he got a shot at redemption. RedEye talked to Gould, long snapper Patrick Mannelly and holder Adam Podlesh to take you Inside The Helmet for the missed kick, the time between and the game-winner.

Podlesh: In all honesty, and you can talk to Robbie, both of us thought the kick was going to end up good. We had a 20 mph wind going right to left. We figure if you aim it [at the right goal post], the wind will blow it back in. Surprisingly enough it actually floated it to the right.

Mannelly: I get over the ball, snap the ball, Adam puts it down and Robbie unfortunately missed it. That's just what it was. From what I heard, Robbie played it to move left and it didn't move left. I saw the ball going toward the right upright, and if the wind was doing what it was supposed to do it should have cut to the middle. For some reason it went right, which was pretty strange.

Gould: I just missed it. That's all there is to it.

Podlesh and Mannelly said the wind was going right to left and …

Gould: Nah, I just missed it.

After the missed field goal, the Bears took a 20-19 lead. Gould, Podlesh and Mannelly then watched Carolina retake the lead on a field goal, followed by the Bears' offense moving down the field to set up their own scoring chance. Meanwhile, the kicking team was on the sideline, waiting for an opportunity.

Mannelly: I think every NFL team practices [a two-minute drill]. We do it on Thursdays. I turned to Adam during the game and said "This feels like a Thursday," because it was 2 minutes, 20 seconds to go. That's about what we have out there when we go through our two-minute drill.

Gould: It's like Thursday afternoons. The only difference is that I warm up for this kick as opposed to warming up for the kick on Thursday at practice. I just [hoped] that the offense got us in field goal range to get a chance to redeem myself.

Mannelly: Once you get to the 50-yard line, that's when you get geared into, "15, 20 more yards we're in field goal range. Let's start getting to work."

Podlesh: We weren't putting too much pressure on it. It was the next kick. That's how we treated it.

Did everything go as planned, as far as good snap, good hold … ?

Podlesh: Everything was great. The operation was good. I put the ball down pretty well and Robbie hit a great kick obviously.

Mannelly: I snapped it. Heard Robbie kick it. Looked up, saw 1 second on the clock and then it going right through the middle of the upright.

Gould: I knew I hit a good kick. I put it on the right line. It was just a matter of if the wind was going to blow it more than it should have.

Podlesh: We celebrated right away. It wasn't a jump-out-of-your-socks kind of celebration, but we came together and I told him, "That's a helluva kick." I was excited. When you go through those trials in a game but you still come out on top, it just makes it that much sweeter. It's the best feeling.

Mannelly: I'll tell you one thing that I heard that was really cool. While running out there, the fans start chanting "Rob-bie! Rob-bie!" For him to be able to make that big kick made it even bigger.

Podlesh: The Bears fans are the best in the league. It's unbelievable how they are. When they were chanting Robbie's name, that was pretty cool. You don't see that anywhere.

Gould: It's awesome to have a city like Chicago, such a great fanbase of sports fanatics. It will be something I'll remember for the rest of my career.

Special contributor Jack M Silverstein covers the Bears for RedEye. Say hey @readjack.

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