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DENVER — With a grin on his face Eddy Pineiro answered a question from a reporter: So, do the Bears have a kicker?

“I think they do, yeah,” he said, as that grin grew ear to ear. 

After five months of “crap,” as Pineiro put it, the Bears received a dream outcome of their bizarre, uncertain and often uninspiring kicking competition. Pineiro saved the Bears from an 0-2 start with a 53-yard field goal as time expired Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High, earning his team a 16-14 win over the Denver Broncos. 

“He came out,” outside linebacker Khalil Mack said, “and nailed that m*****f*****.” 

We don’t need to extensively re-hash everything that brought the Bears to this point. Everyone knows about the double-doink and the rookie minicamp circus and “Augusta silence” and the interest in Kaare Vedvik (who’s been cut twice since mid-August — imagine the disaster if the Bears actually traded for him). 

What’s remarkable is how every corner of the Bears’ locker room in Denver was not only thrilled Pineiro made the kick, but was thrilled for Pineiro himself. 

“He’s been working his ass off on that field each and every day in practice,” wide receiver Anthony Miller said. 

“I think he deserves it,” defensive lineman Eddie Goldman said. 

“He stepped up to the plate like he always does,” running back David Montgomery said. “I wasn’t worried that he wasn’t going to make it. I knew he was.”

 

“I knew deep down in my heart that it was going in,” Mack said. 

Players in that locker room knew how much Pineiro went through to get to the point of drilling a game-winning 53-yard field goal with time expiring. They saw the work he put in while being constantly questioned, the kind of “noise” players claim they try to avoid but was essentially unavoidable in this case. They came to appreciate his swagger and the sort of confidence he brought to practices and games. Pineiro is one of them, with “them” being a close-knit team harboring sky-high aspirations in 2019. 

“He got that F-it mentality,” inside linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “He’s going to go and get it, he don’t care what’s in front of him. It’s tough being a kicker, especially for the Chicago Bears. … He takes on the challenge. He doesn’t run from it.”

Still, there’s a difference between believing something and knowing something. Players believed Pineiro could make a clutch kick before 59 minutes and 59 seconds had ticked off the clock on Sunday, and after the fact could claim they knew it was going in. But now they — and Nagy — have seen legitimate evidence Pineiro can deliver in a critical moment. 

The Bears have 14 games to go and need to answer plenty of questions about their offense, yes. But the question that received the most attention in the spring and summer was answered emphatically on Sunday. 

Not only is Eddy Pineiro the team's kicker, the Bears can rely on him when it matters most. 

“I’ve been practicing my whole life for this and all the stuff I’ve been through, I was praying like, God, give me this shot to win the game,” Pineiro said. “Thank God it happened.”

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