The Bears kicking search was the defining narrative for Chicago’s offseason, in part because there wasn’t much else to talk about, and in part because Bears coach Matt Nagy seemed to put way more focus on it than was necessary.
As it turned out, the kicker that ended up winning the convoluted positional battle, Eddy Piñeiro, has been totally fine through two games, making his only PAT effort and going a perfect 4-4 on field goals, including this literal last second game-winning kick in Denver.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 15, 2019
The Bears offense, meanwhile, has looked pretty poor (hence just the one extra point), which means the media’s focus very quickly shifted from the kicking saga to the performance of third-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky. At least, that’s what it seemed like, until news broke late this week that Piñeiro had apparently injured himself in the weight room, putting his status for tonight’s Monday Night Football trip to Washington in jeopardy.
The Bears felt good enough about it to not sign another kicker ahead of the trip, meaning Piñeiro would likely be active for the game, and indeed he is. But according to media at the stadium, the warmup didn’t exactly inspire confidence.
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) September 23, 2019
Eddy Pineiro’s warmup was interesting. He’s clearly limping, but still making his kicks. We’ll see if he’s limited in distance and if he handles kickoffs. #Bears
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) September 23, 2019
ESPN’s Lisa Salters, meanwhile, reported that Piñeiro is dealing with swelling in his kicking knee.
Lisa Salters reporting that K Eddy Pineiro has swelling in the right (kicking) knee. Also said he will not be doing kickoffs. XPs should be fine but FGs will be touch & go. #Bears
— Aaron Leming (@AaronLemingNFL) September 23, 2019
It’s questionable why he’s even out there with knee swelling; the Bears must be confident he won’t be doing any further damage by kicking, although they were also confident enough to bring him to Washington instead of signing an emergency replacement, and now they may end up unable to attempt field goals. Considering the strength of the NFC in general and the NFC North in particular, this is an important game, too.
It could mean the Bears end up going for a lot of fourth downs and 2-point conversions, though, which could at least make things fascinating for neutral fans.
I'd rather go for 2 than try extra points with a hurt kicker. https://t.co/eIJMJDYKYU
— Matt Clapp (@DaBearNecess) September 23, 2019
Piñeiro is the fifth Bears kicker going back through the 2016-2017 season, after Chicago cut 11-year veteran Robbie Gould. It’s basically the NFL’s Defense Against the Dark Arts job, at this point, with this latest development serving as the best evidence yet to support that theory.