When you lose by 20, a blunder that costs the team three or seven points might not seem like a big deal. However, every point matters, and the game was relatively close when the blunder happened.
The Bears had the ball after a Taylor Heinicke interception, and the Falcons defense stopped them on third down with a running clock. The Bears chewed the clock because Arthur Smith didn't have the awareness to call a timeout and it did end up costing the Falcons points.
Arthur Smith messed up clock management at the end of the first half
With about 27 seconds remaining in the first half, the Atlanta Falcons were able to force the Chicago Bears into a third and long. The clock continued to run because Justin Fields slid, which was a smart move because it would force the Falcons into taking a timeout. Right?
Wrong. Arthur Smith allowed Matt Eberflus to run the clock down to four seconds and take a timeout. This ensured that there would only be one more play in the first half.
The Bears kicked a field goal and Dee Alford returned it 96 yards but was stopped short of the endzone. End of the half, no points for the Falcons.
But there should have been points for the Falcons. If Arthur Smith had taken a timeout after FIelds went down, the Falcons would have had about five seconds to kick a field goal after Alford's return.
I know, hindsight is 20/20 but there is zero reason to not take a timeout when you stopped the Bears. The Bears aren't going to go for it on 4th and 10 with 27 seconds. The worst they could do was punt the ball.
When you are trailing by 14 you should be doing everything you can to allow you to score points. Arthur Smith did not do that.
The way I look at it is that if you allow them to get the clock down to four seconds, they are going to go for points no matter what—whether that be a Hail Mary or field goal.
If you stop the clock at 27 seconds, then they aren't going to throw a Hail Mary, instead, they will either punt or kick the field goal. If they had still kicked the field goal then you would have had an opportunity to take a timeout after the return and kick a field goal with five seconds (the return took 22 seconds).
Who knows, maybe Arthur Smith had some vision that Alford would be heading to the endzone on a return and therefore, wanted to persuade the Bears into a situation that would convince them to kick a field goal. But I think we have enough evidence to determine that Smith is not a psychic.
There was no reason not to take that timeout and it did end up costing you points in the end. These, along with a lot of other things, are proof that he should not be the head coach next season.
I mean if he thought it was a good idea to call his last timeout down by 20 with 2:01 left in the game, only to get the ball back and run the game out, then why aren't we taking a timeout to give the team time right before half?
His inconsistencies are inexcusable.