THE MORNING AFTER: On Sunday, Robbie Gould lived the dream
CHICAGO – Good as Gould? Nope, this was better. Robbie was platinum during this moment in time.
With four field goals in his pocket, he trotted out the 14-yard line of his former team Sunday afternoon. Wearing the 49ers’ gold helmet instead of the blue one he donned for many years, Robbie Gould was faced with the most satisfying of scenarios: Make a field goal, beat the team that cut him a year-and-four months ago.
Admit it, whether you wore orange, blue, red, gold, or any other color and happened to be tuned into the Bears’ game around 2:45 PM Sunday afternoon that you wouldn’t dream to be in the kicker’s spot. One kick – a chip shot – and you’d have sweet revenge against the employer that unceremoniously sent you packing because they were convinced you’re best days were behind you.
It has happened to you, it has happened to me, it happened to Robbie when Ryan Pace chose Connor Barth over him before the start of the 2016.
“There was someone better.” “You’d fit in better somewhere else.””Simply, you’re not good enough anymore.” Lines many of us have heard and leave a fire burning to prove someone wrong.
Gould got this shot on Sunday, a straight up chance to prove a former employer that they’d made a mistake.
“It just so happened that in free agency when I was looking at the teams I was going to go to, it didn’t really dawn on me when I signed with the 49ers I was going to come back here and play,” said Gould if asked if he could have imagined such a scenario playing out when he signed with San Francisco this offseason.
Maybe he was truthful, yet maybe he had a vision of a chance to beat the Bears once he noticed that they were on the schedule. It’s conceivable that it couldnt’ have worked out any better than it did, considering the time, place, and circumstances. Here was Gould with a chance to beat his old team, continue their tailspin, while giving his current team a needed boost of morale and his quarterback his first win with the team.
Even the most die-hard Bears fan had just a little bit of their soul pulling for Gould to smash the football through the uprights. No way he could miss, not this time, not this kick.
Robbie most certainly didn’t.
As he did 283 times for the Bears, in much worse condition in fact, Gould hit the kick true to give the 49ers the lead and ultimately the 15-14 victory in front of a stunned Soldier Field crowd. As if he had planned it, Gould then began yelling and fist pumping in the general direction of the Bears bench.
“Take that!” is what we’d like to think he said.
“I was pretty excited. To go out there and do your job and have some fun and compete against, I have a lot of people I have respect for,” said Gould when asked about his reaction, specifically towards the Bears’ bench after the kick. “To come in here get a win like that and kick a game winner, I don’t think I could have written it any better to be honest with you.”
Seriously, he couldn’t.
This was too perfect, and too symbolic of another disaster for the Bears in a floundering 2017 season. The Bears’ defense allowed 388 yards yet kept the 49ers out of the endzone, yet it still wasn’t enough to get the win. Plus the guy they released scored all of the points against them in sending the Bears to a fourth-straight loss and officially out of playoff contention for the seventh-straight season.
“He made a bunch of kicks. That was their offense. That was their scoring offense,” said Fox of Gould. “To make all five kicks – that is a good day.”
Some can argue, rightfully, that the Bears can’t be criticized as the true bad guest in the Gould scenario. The longtime kicker had a few bad late game misses, including against the 49ers, in 2015 and the preseason of 2016 that gave the Bears some cause for letting him go.
Yet the Bears struggles in the kicking game since – they released his replacement in November – didn’t make what happened on Sunday any easier to take. They were on the wrong end of this “redemption” story where one person who was doubted returned to the home of the doubters and made good.
You wish a scenario like this could happen to you. I wish the same, too. Robbie probably did as well. But Sunday, he got to live it, and he had the “Goulden Touch.”