Robbie Gould jogged on the field and aimed for the right upright.
He might as well have stuck his tongue out.
“Listen,” he said later, “Michael Jordan never said he didn’t want the ball at the end of the game. Let’s be honest.”
Gould made his 49-yard kick with two seconds left Sunday to give the Bears their first win of the season, 22-20, over the Raiders at Solider Field.
For a team that had gone 314 days without a victory, poise — heck, cockiness — can be hard to come by.
Not for the kicker.
“It’s a good lesson for any young athlete: I don’t think he’s afraid of missing,” said punter and holder Spencer Lanning. “There’s a certain air of confidence. We laugh about it all the time. He’s just good.”
Having made a 54-yarder from the same spot — in the middle, on the left hash — 13 minutes earlier, Gould, a scratch golfer, knew the line of his putt.
“Hit the pin-seeker there at the end,” tackle Kyle Long said.
Gould made the 12th game-winning kick of his career to cap a 12-play, 48-yard drive that redeemed both he and quarterback Jay Cutler in front of 58,158 fans.
The game would have been tied at 20 had the Bears not missed a first-quarter extra point. Gould said he kicked the ball too low, and it was blocked by Oakland’s Denico Autry.
Cutler — who completed 28-of-43 attempts for 281 yards and two scores in his return from a hamstring injury — drove his team for winner after throwing an interception at the Raiders’ 7, up two with 6:41 to play. The pick led to Sebastian Janikowski’s 41-yard field goal with 2:05 left.
That the Bears won the game on a special teams play was remarkable in itself.
Their kick coverage unit had been brutal all season, allowing returns for touchdowns in Games 2 and 3. They signed two special teams players last week, disgusted with the effort.
Sunday, even with Raiders kick returner Taiwan Jones inactive, the Bears often utilized a pop-up kick, not wanting to risk a return.
A kicker and punter in college, Lanning had never been a holder until he spent the 2011 preseason in Bears camp. Gould taught him then exactly what he wanted.
Four years later — the last two in Cleveland — Lanning hadn’t forgotten. He showed it off in a tryout this week.
“I guess he’s sort of reaping what he sows,” Lanning said.
The Bears did, too. Fox allowed Gould to try the 54-yarder when a miss would have given the Raiders the ball at the 44 and a 1-point lead.
“Those are the types of wins you want to see,” said Gould, who made a 19-yarder in second quarter to give the Bears a 16-14 lead at halftime. “And usually those types of wins catapult a team and give them a lot of confidence for the next week.”
Tight end Martellus Bennett said seeing the winning kick was “like watching a swish go through the net,” even if he disagreed with the Jordan comparison.
“Robbie’s the Steve Kerr,” he laughed.
After losing the last eight regular-season games dating to last year, the Bears won’t quibble with the outcome.
“You want to take the last shot,” Bennett said. “That’s who Mike was, and that’s what the city is used to seeing.”
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