As the Bears’ hard-luck PK Cody Parkey so aptly put it: “You can’t make this up.”
And who would be cruel enough to do so. Parkey had a chance to be the hero in a miracle finish in Sunday’s wild-card playoff game at Soldier Field. But his 43-yard field-goal attempt with five seconds remaining was tipped by Eagles reserve DT Treyvon Hester, hit the left upright, then fell onto the crossbar and finally dropped into the end zone inches short, giving the Eagles a 16-15 victory.
The amazing back story is that on Nov. 11 against the Lions, also at Soldier Field, Parkey missed four kicks, two field goals and two extra points, and all four hit one of the uprights. But the Bears won that game 34-22.
“I feel terrible,” Parkey said after his latest miss sent the Bears home after a 12-4 regular season that nevertheless ended with a bitter loss. “I let the team down. It’s on me. I have to own it. I have to be a man. Unfortunately, that’s the way it went. That’s one of the worst feelings in the world to let your team down.”
After the four-miss game, Parkey, LS Patrick Scales and P Pat O’Donnell, the holder on place-kicks, started practicing at Soldier Field during weeks before home games to acclimate themselves with conditions. Parkey hit nine of his next 10 FG attempts. He hit his first three FG tries Sunday, from 36, 29 and 34 yards. He actually converted the 43-yarder, but the Eagles had called time out just before the ball was snapped in an effort to “ice” the kicker. It worked.
“I thought I hit a great ball,” Parkey said of the fateful miss. “Trying to play the wind. (My) confidence was going. There’s really no answer to it. One hundred percent, take that loss on me. It is what it is. Sun is going to shine tomorrow; life’s going to go on. Unfortunately, it’s going to sting for a while.”
Parkey’s teammates stood behind him despite the miss, his eighth of the year on 34 attempts.
“That’s our guy,” DL Akiem Hicks said. “I’m gonna ride with my guy. If you’ve got that ‘C’ on your helmet, I’m gonna ride with you ‘til the end, I don’t care what happens on the field, we’re together. That’s it.”
LB Danny Trevathan watched the kick’s trajectory and was hopeful, even after it struck the upright.
“I was for sure it was gonna bounce in,” Trevathan said. “Stuff happens in this league. It’s tough. In certain situations, everybody can’t be perfect. You work hard at tour job, and sometimes there’s a lot on you, and that situation’s tough. I’m sure he hurts more than anybody else.”
Parkey said he would lean on his wife for support and his dog, who “doesn’t care if I miss a kick or not.”
The Bears signed the 26-year-old Parkey as an unrestricted free agent in March, and he got $9 million of a four-year, $15-million contract guaranteed, but his future with the Bears appears tenuous.
“I’ll continue to put my best foot forward and sleep at night knowing that I did everything in my power this week to make that kick,” he said. “I still couldn’t do it.”
Sitting it out
TE Trey Burton (groin), who wasn’t added to the injury report until Saturday under unusual circumstances, when he was listed as questionable, was inactive Sunday for the first time this season.
“Just crazy ironic that it’s against Philadelphia (his former team),” coach Matt Nagy said. “He had a great week of practice all week, and then all of a sudden, this. He got up (Saturday), and his groin hurt.”
S Eddie Jackson, who has been out since suffering a sprained ankle near the end of the Packers game on Dec. 16, was active but didn’t play. He was questionable on Friday, as was DL Bilal Nichols (knee) and S DeAndre Houston-Carson (ribs), who were active and played.
The Bears’ other inactives were OLB Aaron Lynch, who was also injured in the Packers game, but he has not returned to practice yet and was listed as doubtful. Also inactive for the Bears were WRs Kevin White and Javon Wims, OLs Eric Kush and Rashaad Coward and DT Nick Williams.
None of the Bears’ top three wide receivers, Allen Robinson (ribs), Taylor Gabriel (ribs) and Anthony Miller (shoulder) were on the field at the end of the Vikings game last week but all were active Sunday.
The Eagles’ inactives were QB Carson Wentz (back), CB Sidney Jones (hamstring), WR Mike Wallace (ankle), LB D.J. Alexander (hamstring), OG Chance Warmack, OL Matt Pryor and DT Bruce Hector.