Bears K Cairo Santos’ perfect streak rolls on

Cairo Santos hasn’t missed a field goal since Dec. 20 — not that he’s keeping track.

SHARE Bears K Cairo Santos’ perfect streak rolls on
Bears kicker Cairo Santos lines up against the Dolphins on Sunday.

Bears kicker Cairo Santos lines up against the Dolphins on Sunday.

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Cairo Santos hasn’t missed a field goal since last Dec. 20 — not that he’s keeping track.

“That’s the date?” he said.

Yep. On “Monday Night Football” at Soldier Field, Vikings defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson reached his right paw up at the line of scrimmage to block Santos’ 49-yard try with 28 seconds left in the first half of an eventual 17-9 loss for the Bears.

Santos has made 19 straight field goals since, the second-longest streak in the NFL. (The Raiders’ Daniel Carlson has lapped the field, making 41 in a row and counting.) Before missing on a 65-yard prayer as time expired in the Bears’ loss to the Steelers last Nov. 8, Santos had made 40 in a row — four off Adam Vinatieri’s record. He missed his only field-goal attempt the next game and went 1-for-2 the week after that. That’s as close as he has been to a cold streak.

Santos has missed just six of 75 field goals since rejoining the Bears in 2020. That’s one fewer in 2½ seasons than Cody Parkey missed in 16 regular-season games in 2018.

“That’s what you want as a kicker — to give everybody the confidence that you’re going to go and get the job done and be a pro about it,” Santos said this week. “And if bad things happen, you know how to bounce back. It’s not something where I need coaching, in a sense. I can kind of fix myself. If that’s what they want, that’s what I work toward giving to them.”

Three weeks after missing the Giants game with a personal issue, Santos won NFC Special Teams Player of the Week last month after making all four field goals in the Bears’ win over the Patriots. Special-teams coordinator Richard Hightower has praised his consistency.

“His steps are always the same. His operation times are usually in the same area,” Hightower said.

Hightower is also convinced that being around Santos “has really helped” rookie Trenton Gill, whose net average is 15th among NFL punters.

“When you get across midfield, there’s a zone there where you’re going to potentially go for it — you can punt-and-pin or you could kick,” head coach Matt Eberflus said. “When you get to that kick line, you feel real confident. . . . A guy like Cairo, man, that helps you make good decisions. It helps you stay ahead of the game a little bit.”

Eberflus should know. He was in Indianapolis for the end of Vinatieri’s career.

“Having the attitude of ‘We’re going to make the kick and we’re gonna be successful once we get into that zone,’ it certainly fosters confidence for the whole group,” Eberflus said.

Santos gives the Bears consistency where they need it most. He has made four kicks of 50 yards or more this season, his most in seven years.

Entering Sunday’s game against the Lions, the Bears have scored touchdowns on 55.2% of their trips to the red zone — 16th in the league. That’s a significant uptick. As recently as three ago, the Bears were 28th in red-zone efficiency.

Credit quarterback Justin Fields and an offense that sprung up during the Bears’ open weekend after their loss to the Commanders in Week 6.

“For me, I see more opportunities to kick,” Santos said. “I love seeing that. Obviously, for team morale, for everybody to perform the way everybody expects them to, it’s a great thing.

“We root for each other’s success. Seeing that, I think everybody is able to enjoy what we have here.”

Santos’ hot streak rolls on.

“It feels like you’re just moving and not thinking,” he said. “You’re just kind of reacting to your routine that I always do at practice, and try to repeat it every day. It takes work to keep that machine well-oiled. I just focus on that and just try to keep it going.”

The Latest
Democrats will hold a virtual roll call to nominate President Joe Biden to a second term before the Chicago convention, running Aug.19-22, in order to qualify for the Ohio ballot, which requires candidates to be certified by Aug. 7.
Andrea Kersten, chief administrator of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, wrote in a letter to Police Supt. Larry Snelling that her office hadn’t received a written response to her earlier request to strip the tactical officers of their powers.
The second game of the series Tuesday was scheduled to start at 6:40 p.m.
More than 50 events across Chicago featuring local designers will take place in October with many open to the public and free to attend.
The woman was shot about 2:50 p.m. Tuesday in the 2900 block of West 63rd Street.