By Mike Prisuta
CHICAGO _ Jeff Reed knows the feeling, having experienced it repeatedly and as recently as Sept. 10 against Tennessee. But this time, it was the other team's kicker doing the celebrating after connecting on a game-deciding field goal attempt.
Robbie Gould's 44-yard effort with 20 seconds left in regulation stood as the difference in the Chicago Bears' 17-14 decision over the Steelers last Sunday at Soldier Field.
Misses by Reed from 38 and 43 yards away on consecutive fourth-quarter possessions helped put Gould in position to be the hero.
"I'd like to congratulate Robbie on making the game-winner," Reed said. "I've been in those shoes plenty of times, and I know how great he feels right now, as opposed to how I feel."
Reed's first miss occurred on fourth-and-17 from the Chicago 20-yard line with 11:42 left in the fourth quarter and denied the Steelers' their first two-score lead of the game.
His second attempt came on fourth-and-2 from the Chicago 25 with 3:23 to play in the fourth quarter and would have broken a 14-14 tie.
On the first attempt, it appeared that Reed may have slipped a bit on a turf that was far from perfect when the game began and then was worsened by an off-and-on rain throughout the game. Both attempts missed wide left.
"There's no excuse," Reed said. "I missed two kicks and basically, what it was, I was trying too hard on both of them. That's what happens when you're a right-footed kicker and you hook them.
"I thought the first one was going to sneak in; the second one I didn't even give a chance."
Reed had connected from 32 yards out to tie the Steelers' regular season opener against the Titans at 10-10 with less than three minutes remaining in regulation and then hit from 33 yards away with 10:28 left in overtime to win it.
The 33-yard effort against Tennessee was Reed's eighth game-winning field goal in regular season play and his second in overtime. Reed missed only four of 31 field goal attempts in 2008 and had made 21 of his last 23 on the road.
"Just embarrassed," Reed said about his feelings after the game. "These guys fight their tails off to win the game. If there's one player who can single-handedly lose a game, I'll take credit for it.
"I was down there twice. They were makeable field goals. I don't care where I'm kicking, what the conditions are. It's a terrible feeling, but at the same time you have to live to fight another day."