Chicago Bears rally behind PK Cody Parkey following forgettable (unforgettable?) day
Cody Parkey should have left with at least a giant stuffed animal for his display of carnival-fun, odds-defying accuracy.
Actually, make it four giant stuffed animals.
Instead, the Bears kicker left Soldier Field with a face as long an NFL goal post and the answer to a sports trivia question:
“What NFL kicker hit an upright four times in one game?”
“I missed 4 kicks,” Parkey said to reporters when asked what happened Sunday, proving he wasn’t unaware of his shocking display of inaccuracy (and bad luck) on PAT and field-goal attempts. “I don’t think I’ve hit the post four times in my whole life, and I’ve been kicking for about 15 years. It’s almost comical.”
Bears coach Matt Nagy wasn’t laughing.
“It’s certainly not amusing,” Nagy said. “We expect him to make those. He expects himself to make them.”
Fortunately for the Bears, they won their NFC North game against visiting Detroit 34-22, surviving Parkey’s 2 missed PATs and 2 missed field goals.
“Of course (the coaches) are frustrated with me, but who’s more frustrated than myself?” Parkey said. “This is my job. (Making kicks) is what I’m supposed to do, and I’m missing out there. I just got to trust in what I’m doing.”
Parkey’s first miss came after Tarik Cohen scored from 3 yards out on the game’s opening drive, as the PAT kick hit the right upright in the south end zone.
Parkey wasn’t any luckier kicking into the other end zone after Mitchell Trubisky hit Anthony Miller on a 45-yard TD pass early in the second quarter. Parkey’s kick banged off the left upright, keeping the Bears’ advantage at 19-0.
The second half was more of the same misfortune for Parkey, who signed a four-year, $15-million contract last March after kicking for three teams (Philadelphia, Cleveland and Miami) in his first four years in the league. Kicking into the south end zone again, he missed a 41-yard field goal when the ball hit the right upright again.
Less than three minutes later, he got another chance, from 34 yards out, thanks to Prince Amukamara’s forced fumble on Kerryon Johnson and Adrian Amos Jr.’s fumble recovery. And it was déjà vu for Parkey.
Another clang and miss off the right upright.
“I was just putting the ball down the middle today, and every time I kicked it down the middle it just kept fading to the right,” Parkey said. “The wind was pushing it a little bit on me, but I have to do better than that. That’s why I’m here.”
Parkey, who said he missed one kick in warmups and was feeling well, is 13 of 18 on field-goal tries this season. One of his misses was a 53-yard attempt in overtime at Miami. He entered Sunday’s game 28 of 28 on PAT kicks.
“I’m just going to keep my head down and keep working hard,” Parkey said. “I pride myself on not just being a kicker that shows up for 20 minutes and leaves. I study film. I watch myself kick a bunch. I take notes. I kick a lot. I’m really confident in myself. So on a day like today, I can hold my head high, knowing I tried my best.”
One thing he hasn’t done is kick at Soldier Field during the week.
“Who knows (if it will help)?” Parkey said.
After the Bears scored late in the third quarter on Trubisky’s 26-yard pass to Allen Robinson II, the Soldier Field PA announcer announced the Bears were going for the two-point conversion. The fans cheered.
Parkey stood quietly on the sideline.
If anyone knows how to handle criticism, it’s Trubisky, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
“We see him boot the (stuff) out of the ball in practice,” Trubisky said of Parkey. “Everyone has a bad game every once and a while, so we’re going to rally around him and continue to have his back. I know next week when we need it, he’s going to make a big kick. ... We’re a family in that locker room.”
The head coach has Parkey’s back too.
“We have trust in him, and I know he’s going to come back strong,” Nagy said. “It’s just one of those days, and we all have them.”
The question is, how many more bad days by their kicker can the Bears afford?
“I let my team down today. I let myself down,” Parkey said. “I just got to keep swinging.”
And putting kicks through the uprights.