Upon Further Review: Blocked PAT the Difference in Bears Win over Bills


It’s one of the most routine plays in football.  We take it for granted all the time.  In fact,when Fred Jackson scored, I already assumed a tie game.  Oops, spoke too soon.

To a very casual observer (like my wife who knows virtually nothing about football), they might think that touchdowns are worth 7 points.   As a matter of fact, touchdowns are only worth 6 and it’s the Point After Touchdown (PAT) that makes virtually all touchdown effectively worth 7 points.  On Sunday, Ryan Lindell had a long streak of consecutive PAT’s snapped thanks to an Israel (Izzy) Idonije block in what proved to be a critical play in the game.  Why do I think this was such a key play?  Why is a blocked extra point the difference in a 3-point game?  Follow me after the jump to find out.

The Bears and Bills played to a 7-all tie in the first half.  Chester Taylor broke the Bears’ 0-the-season 3rd quarter scoring drought with a 1-yard TD run, but the Bills marched right back down the field and capped an 80-yard scoring drive with a 4-yard touchdown run of his own, but instead of tying the game at 14, the PAT was blocked.  Let’s play the rest of this game out as if the point after had been made.

With the score tied at 14, the Bears give up their lone sack of the day, which is actually a fumble.  The Bills take over near midfield and look to capitalize.   Ryan Fitzpatrick leads the Bills back down the field and a Corey McIntyre touchdown run gives the Bills a touchdown lead.  (In our land of make-believe, the Bills are up 6, so they just kick the PAT).

The Bears get the ball back down 7 but go three and out.  On the ensuing Bills drive, they turn it over on a Fitzpatrick INT.  After a great Tim Jennings return, the Bears take over with about 9 minutes left.  Jay Cutler puts together a short TD drive capped off by an Earl Bennett touchdown catch.  Bears kick the extra point and we have a tie ballgame.

The Bills never got close enough to get into FG range and the Bears were able to hang on.

Now there are a lot of assumptions in this, but the main point is that the Bears were thisclose to losing to a winless team and it very well could have been one of the most routine plays in football that saved their season.