You know Lori Lightfoot must have some political power when she can fix the Bears’ kicking game with one public statement. It’s been six weeks since Chicago’s mayor went in front of TV cameras and challenged Eddy Piñeiro to “find [his] leg” again after an 0-for-2 performance against the Rams. The Bears’ kicker hasn’t missed since, converting all 11 attempts.
“I honestly want the season to keep going,” Piñeiro said after hitting his second game-winner of the season, a 22-yarder to beat the Vikings 21-19 Sunday. “It’s sad the season is over at this point in time. I’m just happy that I ended on a good note. It’s now time to get ready for next year where I’ll need to compete in order to get my job back.”
He was staunchly uninterested in postgame job speculation, even though his 4-4 performance was the latest example of why there probably won’t be much this offseason. He scored 13 of the Bears’ 21 points – it’s not like they can really afford to start over again, and after last offseason, why would they want to?
“For us, you all know, that was a huge, huge, big void that we had going into this year,” Matt Nagy said. “I feel pretty good that that void is filled. I feel like that’s a positive from this year.”
Piñeiro finished the season kicking at an 82% rate, which falls in the middle of the pack (19th) in the league. He went 27-for-29 on extra points, which puts him a bit lower (25th). Still, the Bears have consistently applauded the kicker’s ability to respond to adversity, and finishing the season perfectly after his worst performance of the year is a testament to the 24-year-old’s resolve.
“The slumps, again, are natural,” Nagy added. “I think making sure that we don’t panic when you go through that slump is the most important part.”
Piñeiro said that what helped him rebound this season was changing (read: improving) his technique. He admitted that he came into the season “kicking like a soccer player,” and that the way he was coming around on the ball wasn’t producing clean kicks. And while many point to the Rams game as his season’s low point, it was actually missing what would have been the game-winner against the other Los Angeles team that Piñeiro felt was his season’s turning point.
“I think the biggest thing is handling adversity,” he said. “This one was big for me, especially after I lost the game against the Chargers. This was a big moment for me."Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.