The events of the previous day gnawing at him, Robbie Gould did something he’s never done the day after a game: he went onto a backfield at Halas Hall alone, and attempted 30 field goals.
A piece of plastic held the ball for him. There was no snapper.
Monday, the Bears kicker worked on the technical points he’s focused on the last few weeks, when his streak of 17-straight makes was replaced by a 9-for-14 stretch.
He still feels like he rushed through his two misses in Sunday’s overtime loss, including the 36-yarder at the gun that would have beaten the 49ers in regulation.
But he sees Sunday’s two misses as a blip, not a trend.
Wednesday, he exuded confidence, even if his statistics might suggest otherwise. Told fans might think the sky is falling, Gould advised they “look at my track record.” Asked if he had the yips, Gould, an avid golfer, said he didn’t have pro-am duffer Charles Barkley’s hitch.
“Listen, everyone can make what they want of it,” he said. “I’m pretty confident going out there and doing my job on Sundays.
“Obviously I’ve been doing it for a long time. It’s something where I know how to rebound.”
That started Monday, when Gould worked on kicking in a straight line and not, he said, “wrapping around the ball.”
“Sometimes you just gotta go out and do some things on your own to start fixing some things,” he said. “It’s part of the game. This game’s humbling.”
He lived that the night before. After missing a 36-yarder and a 40-yarder against the 49ers, Gould celebrated his 34th birthday by actually watching football— his brother Chris works as the Broncos’ special teams intern, and they were on TV. He played with his 2-year-old son and fielded texts of encouragement from current and former teammates.
He was humbled, but not bowed.
“I’m perfectly fine mentally,” he said. “My confidence is at an all-time high.”
His stats, though, are slumping. Last season, Gould made 75 percent of his kicks, a career low, in 12 games before suffering a quad injury.
This year, the Bears’ all-time leading scorer is 19th in the league with an 83.9 field goal percentage. The 18 men above him have combined to miss one kick on 104 tries from 30-39 yards; Gould has missed two on 10.
Neither Gould nor special teams coach Jeff Rodgers, though, think his misses are symbolic of a career turn.
“I wouldn’t say his skill has trended downward,” Rodgers said. “Time will tell on everything as it relates to the entire season.
“He’s had a lot of good games, and he’s hit a lot of good kicks. Hopefully, it was a bad day, and we’ll see moving forward.”
No one in the NFL has made more than Gould’s 26 field goals this season, but his 31 attempts put him on pace to surpass his career high of 36, set in 2006 and 2007.
He’s missed two kicks in the same game twice in the last five contests — as many as he had in his first 10 ½ seasons.
Gould had a different long snapper for each of his two-miss games this season; the Bears cut Thomas Gafford and signed Patrick Scales after the Packers win.
“I probably could have gotten the ball up a little more, easier for Robbie to see,” Scales said of the final, wide-left miss.
While Rodgers said an adjustment had to be made in Scales’ first Bears game, he couldn’t say that it contributed to the misses — or makes — Sunday.
Gould didn’t blame either the snapper or holder.
And then he made a prediction.
“I’m looking forward to starting a new streak,” he said. “That’s usually what I do in these situations.”
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