For the Super Bowl champion Steelers, Jeff Reed has been Mr. Clutch, or Mr. Automatic over the years when it comes to key kicks at key moments. Sunday, let’s just say it was not one of his better days. Reed missed two critical fourth quarter field goals that would have likely pushed the Steelers to 2-0 in Chicago against the Bears.
The first miss came with 11:37 left from 38 yards out that would have extended the Steelers lead from 14-7 to 17-7. The Bears responded with a drive down the field that resulted in the game-tying touchdown. Never fear, there would be another chance. Ben Roethlisberger put together a nice drive that saw the team reach the Bears 25-yard line with 3:18 left.
Reed again marched on the field, and this time from 43 yards out it wasn’t even close. The word shank comes to mind when it comes to the kick. As for the Bears, their kicker, Robbie Gould, was true from 44 yards out for the game-winner with :15 left to give the Bears a 17-14 win.
“There’s no excuse,” Reed said after the setback. “First of all, I want to congratulate Robbie (Gould) for making the game-winner. I’ve been in those shoes plenty of times, and I know how great he feels right now, as opposed to how I feel. There’s no excuse; I missed two kicks. Actually, what it was is that I was trying too hard on both of them; that’s what happens to a kicker when you hook them. I thought the first one was going to sneak in, but I didn’t give the second one a chance. I don’t care where I was kicking or what the conditions are. If I’m on the field, I have a fair chance to make a kick. It’s a terrible feeling, but at the same time you have to fight another day.”
Reed had a day much like former Steelers kicker Kris Brown, who once against the Ravens missed four field goals in a critical October game in 2001. Brown rebounded to have a good season, and for Reed, he knows that he and the team have to quickly put this one behind them and get set for the Bengals next Sunday in Paul Brown Stadium.
“I’m just embarrassed because these guys fought their tails off to win the game,” Reed said. “If there’s one player who can single-handedly lose the game, then I’ll take credit for it… I know it’s a team game; I’m always the first one to give credit to the guys if I hit a game-winner – the whole team – because they got me in position. But, I was down there twice, and both were makeable field goals.”