The Chicago Bears saw their promising season come to an end on Sunday, when Cody Parkey's game-winning 43-yard field goal attempt hit the upright and crossbar before falling to the ground.
The defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles escaped with a 16-15 victory at Soldier Field, and Chicago's magical NFC North-winning season came to an abrupt end. Parkey, who had scored the bulk of the team's points on Sunday, just wasn't able to hit this one home.
It's hard to find an ultra-reliable kicker in today's NFL, but the Bears actually had one in Robbie Gould from 2005-15. Ever since the Bears released Gould in Sept. 2016, he's been absolute money as a kicker.
Look away at this stat, Bear fans.
Since the Bears cut him, Robbie Gould has made 82 of 85 field goals. pic.twitter.com/8MdhFzsQYv— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) January 7, 2019
Parkey had struggled in his first season with the Bears, making a mere 23 of 30 field goal attempts. He also missed three of 45 extra point kicks throughout the season, but Parkey was successful on his first three field goal attempts in Sunday's win-or-go-home contest.
The Eagles took the lead with a minute left, when Nick Foles found Golden Tate in the end zone for a touchdown on a fourth and goal play. The Bears quickly drove down the field and put Parkey in prime position to be the hero.
Parkey made his initial attempt, but Philadelphia head coach Doug Pederson called a timeout to ice the kicker. It worked, as Parkey's kick (which may have been tipped at the line by Treyvon Hester), bounced off the left upright and crossbar. A double doink. No good.
With that, the 12-4 Bears were sent home by the defending Super Bowl champions. Parkey owned up to his mistake with reporters afterwards, answering questions like a professional and adding he did "everything in my power" to win the game.
What This Means
The Bears' decision to release Gould was a questionable decision from the get-go, given his reputation as one of the game's most clutch and reliable kickers for a decade. Parkey can't be completely blamed for the loss, but it's fair for Bears fans to question why the team opted to cut Gould loose some years earlier.