EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Robbie Gould was happy to see his former teammates. And just as happy to beat them.
“This was a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be,” said Gould, who kicked a 46-yard field goal but missed two-of-three extra points in the Giants’ 22-16 victory over the Bears on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. “Just seeing everybody, saying hello to everybody, everybody coming up, I didn’t think it would be as difficult — Not that it was hard seeing them, but when you play in a game like that and play against your former teammates and you have a lot of respect for them and they have a lot of respect for you, I think I talked to every single person on the team, which is pretty special.
“But at the end of the day I’ve got to do my job and I didn’t do that to the best of my ability today. And there’s something from today that I take away, it’s that you’ve got to enjoy the win. Obviously I’m going to enjoy it because it’s against my former team. But I’ve still got to step up and do my job.”
Gould, the most accurate kicker in Bears history (276-of-323, 85.4 percent), has taken the high road since he was unceremoniously and suddenly cut by the Bears on the eve of the regular season — Sept. 5, following the final cutdown to 53. The Giants signed him on Oct. 20 to replace Josh Brown, who was cut after admitting to domestic violence. He is 2-for-2 (1.000) on field goals and 10-for-12 (83.3 percent) on PATs after missing two against the Bears.
“I’ve got no hard feelings,” Gould said. “Those guys made a decision that they thought was best for their team. As a teammate to those guys, I have to respect that. But I’m excited here. I feel like I’ve got a fresh start. I’m a new guy and this is a place I could be really happy in and it just comes down to producing and doing your job. I just need to do that a little better than I did today.”
But isn’t it a little bit of an extra kick to beat the team that gave up on him? Even baited, Gould is looking ahead more than behind. The Giants are 7-3 — 4-0 since signing Gould. The Bears are 2-8 since cutting him. Connor Barth, who replaced Gould, is 13-of-17 (76.5 percent) on field goals and 16-of-17 (94.1 percent) on PATs.
“Oh, I’m happy to beat ‘em. Don’t get me wrong,” Gould said. “[But] I’m excited we got the win today. I’m excited for the guys in here, because we have something special going on. I’m happy that these guys in this locker room get to enjoy that and I’m glad we’re on a run and be a part of the ride.”
Gould called the wind and cold at MetLife Stadium on Sunday “probably the toughest conditions I have ever kicked in.”
Tougher than Soldier Field? Gould once had a field goal attempt against the 49ers literally take a right turn and land in the stands.
“Yeah, because usually it’s more constant,” Gould said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a game where it’s 50 mile-an-hour [winds] and it was start and stop. And that’s not an excuse why I missed. I hit the first one great, right where I wanted to hit it. The second one I just didn’t hit a good ball.”
The Bears limped home 2-8. “As a competitor you don’t feel sorry for them,” Gould said. “You obviously want to see them win, but you don’t want to see them win when you’re playing them.”
With the emotional moment behind him, Gould is ready to move on.
“I’m excited it’s behind me,” Gould said. “I didn’t think it would be as hard to see everybody — not necessarily just saying hello. I didn’t expect as many people to come up and say, ‘Hey’ pre-game. But it’s part of the game. You’ve got to focus and you‘ve got a job to do. I’m just happy that this team gets a chance to celebrate a win.”