John Fox's winning challenge somehow backfired for the Bears

The Chicago Bears’ propensity for boneheaded decisions knows no bounds. Literally.

While trying to overturn an out-of-bounds ruling in hopes of a getting a touchdown call, head coach John Fox’s staff grossly underestimated what happened when running back Benny Cunningham lunged toward the pylon with the ball stretched out on third-and-13 near the red zone.

In the split second where Cunningham flew out of bounds, the ball came loose before hitting the pylon. Fox, either not seeing or understanding what took place, challenged the spot thinking the Bears had an easy six points waiting for them on the other side of the review.

Of course, that’s not what happened. After taking a second look at the play, the refs saw Cunningham fumbling the ball as it reached the end zone. Which means the Bears didn’t score a touchdown. They actually committed a touchback.

Chicago Bears running back Benny Cunningham argues for a touchdown call during the first half against the Green Bay Packers. (AP Photo)

Because of Fox’s challenge, what would otherwise have been first-and-goal became one of the ugliest turnovers of the season — a distinction the Bears are competing against themselves for.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a potential touchdown turned into a touchback. New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins fell victim to the same fortune as Cunningham against the Patriots earlier this year.

There is, of course, a wonderful silver lining in all of this for the Bears. Because the ruling on the field changed as a result of the review, technically Fox won the challenge. That came in handy at the end of the half, as Chicago used the timeout to set up a field goal, but it probably doesn’t make fans in Chicago feel much better.

The Packers won, 23-16.

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Blake Schuster is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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