Cody Parkey missed a 43-yard field goal in the final seconds that would have won the game for the Chicago Bears. The ball sailed left and hit both the crossbar and upright before bouncing back into the end zone. While the Eagles sideline was celebrating, Bears players and fans were shocked. Fans immediately began booing him as he left the field. In the post-game press conference, Parkey took responsibility for the kick and said that “I feel terrible. I let the team down. That’s on me. I have to own it. I have to be a man. Unfortunately, that’s the way it went today.”
While he did miss the kick and has missed multiple game-winning kicks this season, this loss is not his fault. From the lack of offensive production to the defense’s failed attempt at a goal-line stop and the organization for keeping him this long, this is a team loss and should be looked at as such.
Cody Parkey Does Not Deserve the Blame
The Bears Look More Like Cubs
The Bears offense failed to get anything going, as they failed to score a touchdown until nine minutes left in the game. They went 0-3 in the red zone while the Eagles went 2-3. Parkey scored their first nine points of the game, without them the score is 16-6 and a completely different game. Jordan Howard was held to 35 rushing yards and the team 65 total rushing yards. Mitch Trubisky had a decent game with 300 yards, but only the one touchdown. A QBR of 49.5 is not good enough to win in the playoffs, however, and except for Allen Robinson’s 143-yard afternoon, no one showed up for the offense.
Three of their first five drives ended in punts including a three-play drive for one yard. One yard drives are not going to lead to wins, drives like those are why you needed Parkey to hit three field goals. Three more punts in the second half gaining under 50 yards combined also are no assistance. The final punt drive went for three plays and -2 yards, the following drive the Eagles took the lead. With the weapons available, against the 23rd ranked total defense, the Bears failed to get anything going on offense for about 75% of the game, and take significant responsibility for the loss.
Defense is Supposed to Win Championships
The defense was supposed to be the pride of Chicago, coming in as the third-ranked total defense. They held the Eagles to 16 points and Nick Foles to under 300 yards. Darren Sproles was the leading rusher with 21 yards and Alshon Jeffrey was held under 100 yards. The Bears even forced two turnovers and played a great game defensively. The Eagles had a first and goal opportunity with under two minutes remaining. If the Bears stop them from scoring they win.
On fourth and goal Nick Foles found Golden Tate for the go ahead score. Parkey is never put in the situation to win the game if they stop the Eagles. The defense did not get a crucial stop, and deserve some responsibility for the loss. The winning drive took 12 plays and 60 yards with nearly four minutes off the clock. Drives like this are not what dominant defenses give up, and even so do not give up a score on fourth and goal. As great as this defense has been led by Khalil Mack and Eddie Jackson, they deserve some blame for giving up the winning score with not much time left.
The Last Word
Parkey made 23-30 field goals in 2018 for a 76% accuracy. For perspective, Robbie Gould of the 49ers made 97% of his kicks. Parkey also missed four extra points compared to Gould’s two. A kicker’s job is to make kicks. This puts blame on the Bears for keeping Parkey and not signing someone else. Paying someone 15 million means they need to perform. The Bears organization deserves some blame for keeping him this long knowing he’s missed many kicks this season. It is difficult to make a 43 yard field goal, 99% of humans likely would miss. To be in that type of pressure situation it can affect your concentration. He made the “practice kick” when Eagles coach Doug Pederson iced him. While he missed the one that mattered, he outscored the Bears offense. He made that game competitive. While I understand fans frustration towards him, some of the responses to him threatening him and his family are unacceptable.
I completely understand being pissed that he missed, but to threaten the safety of him and his family is beyond sane and acceptable. I worry that someone would find that appropriate in any situation. At the end of the day, football is a team sport. The game is won and lost as a team. One player and one play does not lose a game. I hope Bears fans can realize this and give Parkey support. Moments like these can change someone, and allow Parkey to bounce back better than ever. Aldrick Rosas received criticism from Giants fans after a horrible 2017, but he bounced back and made the Pro Bowl and second team All-Pro this season. Parkey can do the same, if Bears fans give him a chance.
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