The clang’s all here: Bears kicker Cody Parkey hits four uprights. No, really.
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Cody Parkey wanted to kick himself Sunday, but he missed, hitting another upright.
That’s how the afternoon went for the Bears kicker, who managed to drag attention away from his team’s 34-22 victory over the Lions and create punch lines along the way.
He hit four uprights on four failed kicks at Soldier Field, which is exponentially harder to do than hitting four 55-yard field goals. He hit the right upright on two field-goal attempts and an extra-point attempt. He hit the left upright on another PAT. Until then, nobody had thought of using the goalposts as a xylophone.
Afterward, the question was whether anyone had seen a kicker clang four uprights in one game.
“Dude, are you kidding me?’’ Bears tight end Trey Burton said. “What are the chances of that even happening?’’
“I don’t think he could do it again if he tried,’’ holder Pat O’Donnell said. “Just one of those days.’’
It was like watching an actor forget his lines during a play. It was like watching a basketball player take off his warm-up pants and report into the game without shorts on. You wanted to look down, but you couldn’t look away.
It got to the point where the most anticipated play of the game was not a Mitch Trubisky pass but a Clanky Parkey kick. It felt like a gateway urge. If we were finding perverse pleasure in this, how soon before we’d be pulling the wings off flies?
Parkey still looked stunned 45 minutes after the game.
“I don’t think I’ve hit the post four times in my whole life, and I’ve probably been kicking for about 15 years, so it’s almost comical,’’ he said.
The misses cost the Bears eight points. After going up 32-10 on Trubisky’s 26-yard touchdown pass to Allen Robinson in the third quarter, coach Matt Nagy chose a two-point conversion over a kick. He had used up his trust in his kicker for the day.
There is no such thing as patience when it comes to NFL kickers. Coaches cut them at the first hint of trouble. It could be a missed field goal. A botched onside kick. High gas prices. Anything. But the Bears are unlikely to make a move this season – or next. When Parkey signed a four-year deal before the season, he received $9 million in guaranteed money. Cutting him this season or next would cost the Bears dearly. Nagy said that he trusts Parkey going forward and that there was “a zero chance’’ the team would bring in kickers for tryouts this week.
Parkey said he heard from Bears coaches during the game.
“Of course they’re frustrated with me, but who’s more frustrated than myself?’’ he said. “I mean, this is my job, this is what I’m supposed to do, and I’m missing out there. I’ve got just to trust in what I’m doing and trust that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ makes no mistakes. For whatever reason, that was the day I was supposed to have.’’
The winds were coming out of the south/southwest at 15 mph Sunday, but wind speed doesn’t always explain the swirling conditions kickers have to deal with at Soldier Field. Parkey said he played each of his kicks down the middle.
“It just kept fading to the right,’’ he said. “The wind was pushing it a little bit on me, but I have to be better than that. That’s why I’m here.’’
Heading into Sunday’s game, Parkey was five of six on field-attempts and 12 of 12 on extra points at Soldier Field as a Bear. Former Bear Steve McMichael suggested on ESPN 1000 before the game that Parkey spend part of each week practicing at the stadium, rather than at the team’s practice facility.
Is that something Parkey has thought of doing?
“No, sir,’’ he said.
Would it help?
“Who knows?’’ he said.
So it’s not something he’s considering?
“It’s not my place to say,’’ he said.
As for the game itself – you remember that, right? – the Bears took care of the first leg of a three-game stretch against NFC North opponents. They were dominant in the first half. Trubisky had a perfect passer rating (158.3) to go with two touchdowns passes and 209 passing yards at halftime.
It wouldn’t be fair to blame the Bears’ second-half struggles Sunday on Parkey’s goalpost rattlers, but there’s no denying that the team sagged after building a 26-7 halftime lead. Did the misses play a role? Impossible to know. Going forward, Trubisky said, the Bears are “going to have his back.’’
They improved to 6-3, with the Vikings up next at Soldier Field. Parkey and his right leg figure to show up.
“I pride myself on not just being a kicker that shows up for 20 minutes and leaves,’’ he said. “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 this, I can hold my head high just knowing I tried my best.’’
So the question that wouldn’t go away: If Parkey tried to hit the uprights four times, could he do it?
“Probably not, honestly,’’ he said. “Just one of those days.’’
A better question: If Parkey ended up fixing four flat tires on the ride home Sunday, would anyone be surprised?