LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Bears coach John Fox emphasized on Monday that the team’s replay booth agreed with Fox’s decision to challenge referee Tony Corrente’s ruling that Benny Cunningham was down at Green Bay’s 2-yard line in the first half of Sunday’s 23-16 loss to the Packers.
Because Fox pushed for officials to review the play, Cunningham was ultimately ruled to have lost control of the ball before it hit the pylon in the front corner of the end zone, therefore giving possession to Green Bay in the form of a touchback.
“They saw it pretty much how I thought I saw it,” Fox said. “We’ll leave it at that. We have to, ultimately, kind of go with what the officiating crew goes with.
“In hindsight I would not have challenged it, because it took points -- however many points we don’t know -- but in my opinion it hurt our cause.”
Fox declined to elaborate.
“Unfortunately I can’t really respond exactly how I would like to,” Fox said. “Obviously in those situations, hindsight is 20/20. I probably would not challenge that if I were given the opportunity again. And we’ll leave it at that.”
At 8:09 of the second quarter, Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky hit Cunningham on a short screen pass that he turned upfield for 23 yards.
Cunningham tried to score on the play but was ruled out of bounds at the 2-yard line, even though he extended his arms and hit the pylon with the football around the same time his foot made contact with the ground.
Fox immediately challenged the play, arguing it should have been a touchdown since the ball hit the pylon before Cunningham's foot hit out of bounds.
But upon further review, officials said Cunningham lost control of the football before it made contact with the pylon, and Corrente ruled the play a touchback and awarded the ball to Green Bay at the 20-yard line.
"We had to put together two different angles in order to see both hands losing the football," Corrente said to a pool reporter. "After he lost it the second time, it went right into the pylon. Which creates a touchback."
Cunningham said he thought it was a TD at first, but he agreed with the call after watching the replay.
"Coaches go over it every week. Unless it's fourth down, you don't reach the ball out at the goal line, in the red zone," he said. "They talk about it. I go down at the 1, next play it's first-and-goal and we hand the ball to Jordan [Howard]. It's a touchdown. So it was a bad decision."