As he lined up to attempt his game-winning 49-yard field goal Sunday at Soldier Field, Bears kicker Robbie Gould experienced a case of déjà vu.
At the same spot on the field in the 2006 NFC Playoffs, Gould drilled a 49-yard field goal in overtime to beat the Seahawks, sending the Bears to the NFC title game.
"I love that end zone, because that's the wind I'm used to," Gould said Sunday after his kick gave the Bears a thrilling 22-20 win over the Oakland Raiders. "I think I've hit all my game-winners at that end. The last one I remember at that distance was the Seahawks.
"You kind of bring yourself back to certain kicks. I knew if I hit it to the right upright and everyone else did their job—which they did all game—we were going to have a chance to win it. Just trust your lines. It's the same old end zone down there for me. It's just something I'm comfortable with."
That was evident early in the fourth quarter when Gould booted a 54-yard field goal at the same end of the field that gave the Bears a 19-17 lead. Gould is the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history from 50 yards or longer, connecting on 19 of 25 attempts (76.0 percent), including all three of his tries this year.
"He's a golfer," said right tackle Kyle Long. "If he can be a scratch golfer, he can do anything in my book because that must be the toughest damn game on the face of the earth."
Gould has now made 12 game-winning field goals since he joined the Bears in 2005, with the last nine (and 10 overall) coming at Soldier Field. It's an opportunity that he embraces.
"Michael Jordan never said he didn't want the ball at the end of the game," Gould said. "When he passed, he probably didn't like passing. When you get in situations like that, that's your opportunity as a kicker to kind of earn the respect in the locker room and earn the respect of your teammates."
Gould's game-winning kick Sunday enabled the Bears to snap an eight-game losing streak dating back to last season. His third field goal of the game and ninth of the season without a miss capped a 12-play, 48-yard drive.
"It feels great for everybody," Gould said. "I think the team played really well across the board. We talked about finishing all week and I think everyone—offense, defense and special teams—did a great job giving us a chance to win at the end. When you get those opportunities, you just have to take advantage of them.