As the Chicago Bears move towards the playoffs, can Cody Parkey be trusted in the clutch?
The Chicago Bears are barreling towards the playoffs, sitting at 11-4 and far exceeding even the most optimistic fan’s expectations. All season long they have been winning games that in year’s past they surely would have lost.
Take Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers for example. The Bears were able to hang on to win on the road 14-9, despite a litany of mental mistake, penalties, and turnovers. As has been the standard this year, the defense stepped up and made big plays when it had to. The 49ers were only able to muster three Robbie Gould field goals throughout the game.
There were likely more than a few Bears fans who had flashbacks to last season when the Bears put up 14 points, but it was not enough to overcome Gould’s five field goals at Soldier Field en route to a 15-14 win. Two more field goals for Robbie and as Yogi Berra said, it would be “deja vu all over again.”
But these Bears are different and full more resilience than last year’s squad. However, the game shouldn’t have even been that close, as the Bears should have had at least three more points. Why didn’t they? Glad you asked. It’s because Cody Parkey missed yet another field goal this year. The $9 million dollar man is now 22/29 on field goals or just 76 percent. He’s also missed two extra points and is 41/43 in that category.
Parkey’s struggles have been well documented, and have cost the team at least one game this year against the Miami Dolphins. He also missed a late field goal against the Los Angeles Rams (which wasn’t costly) and had the infamous game where he doinked four kicks off the uprights.
Again, those misses didn’t ultimately cost the Bears a win, but the question remains: Can the Bears really trust Parkey as they enter the playoffs? The short answer is no. The longer answer is, they may have to, and that’s a scary proposition for the Bears.
Fans can imagine a scenario where the Bears are in a position to kick a long field goal late in a game, or perhaps go for it on fourth and short. In that type of scenario, it’s easy to see the aggressive Matt Nagy go for it — especially with Parkey’s track record.
But what if it’s a slightly different scenario. Let’s say it’s 4th and 8 and Nagy’s options are to go for it or have Parkey attempt a 47-yard field goal. What does he do? Does any fan have faith he will make that kick? More importantly, does Nagy?
Again, Parkey’s struggles have only cost the team one game — but it was a big one that could ultimately mean the difference between the No. 2 and 3 seed. But what if it all comes down to his right leg? Those are decisions Nagy gets paid the big bucks to make, but one he no doubt hopes he doesn’t have to.