Duds of the Week: Brad Maynard & Robbie Gould

The passing offense has been all over the place this season, and the run defense still has some holes that need to be filled. But up until Monday night's matchup in St. Louis, Bears fans had nothing to worry about concering the punting of Brad Maynard and the kicking of Robbie Gould. However, Maynard and Gould share the dubious honor and are the Bear Report Duds of the Week.

What happened to Mr. Automatic?

Bears kicker Robbie Gould may still look like he's not old enough to drive a car, but the second-year specialist out of Penn State had been getting the job done like a 10-year veteran so far this season. After making his first 24 field goals this season and setting a Chicago franchise record in the process, suddenly, he's missed three of his last five kicks.

Gould had two opportunities in Week 14 against St. Louis - with weather and field conditions not a factor inside the Edward Jones Dome - but actually missed them both.

Punter Brad Maynard, on the other hand, has a decade of experience and can't blame his Monday night blunders on inexperience.

Maynard had three punt attempts against the Rams, but he averaged only 34.7 yards with a long of just 40 yards. He did manage to have one downed at the St. Louis 1-yard line, but that play was much more the result of a tremendous effort by Dante Wesley in coverage than Maynard executing another one of his patented coffin-corner jobs. If not for the sensational fireworks of rookie return man Devin Hester, the Bears would have been big losers in the field-position game.

Gould and Maynard share the dubious honor and are the Bear Report Duds of the Week.

Even though they both had poor performances on Monday Night Football, Bears fans have every reason to continue to be confident in their special teams. Gould still leads all kickers in scoring with 118 points, converting 26 of his 29 field goal attempts and all 40 of his extra points. Maynard has a solid net average of 37.4 yards per punt, killing 17 inside the opponent's 20 against only seven touchbacks.

All indications points to an anomaly-type game for Gould and Maynard in Week 14. Both of them have three weeks left in the regular season to get everything straightened out before the playoffs. With the Bears almost certain to be at home for any NFC postseason games, guaranteed wintry conditions at Soldier Field will make the kicking game more important than ever.

JC

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