LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Bears were always going to go for it. The only question was what play they were going to run.
Even that wasn't much of a debate.
Tied at 28 with the Denver Broncos late in the fourth quarter on Sunday, the Bears faced a fourth-and-1 from the Broncos' 18-yard line. They could either trot out Cairo Santos for a chip-shot field goal and trust their undermanned defense to get one final stop or get 1 yard and make sure the Broncos didn't touch the ball again.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Chicago sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
Bears coach Matt Eberflus trotted the offense out to try and draw the Broncos offside. When that failed, he called timeout, and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy sent in the play that would provide the key talking point in the Bears' 31-28 loss.
Getsy dialed up a read option. As they had all day, the Broncos sagged the ends and forced quarterback Justin Fields to give the ball to Khalil Herbert. The Bears' right tackle Darnell Wright missed a block on the backside, and Herbert was stopped short of the line to gain. The Broncos took over on downs and marched down to kick what would end up being the game-winning field goal.
On Tuesday, Getsy explained why the Bears felt that was the right play for the moment.
“It’s the play that when you have the defensive line the way that they were aligned, and we knew what the structure was gonna be like, and we wanted that run scheme," Getsy said at Halas Hall. "It still takes us doing the job, and we didn’t necessarily do the job to get that one done.
"That was the fourth time we ran that play, probably — third time we ran a similar-type play," Getsy said. "So the execution, the alignments, the angles, everything was exactly the way we wanted it.”
If Wright makes his block, Herbert likely has a big gain. It might be as simple as the rookie right tackle made a mistake. But the Broncos also blitzed on the play, which signals that Denver might have just dialed up a good counter to Getsy's play.
Bottom line: Nothing went right on the most important play of a game the Bears needed to win.
After the loss, several members of the Bears' offense backed the decision to go for it on fourth-and-1.
Herbert put the inability to gain the yard, and therefore the loss, on himself.
"Just got to find a way to get it," Hebert said in the locker room after the loss.
On Monday, Eberflus said that given the situation, the yardage, the opposing quarterback, and the flow of the game, he would make the same decision again.
The decision to go for it on fourth-and-1 was sound. The numbers say the Bears made the right call. But the play call and poor execution upfront did them.
That might as well be the story of the Bears' first four weeks.