Eddy Pineiro lifts Bears with 'emotional' 53-yard kick

By the time Eddy Pineiro's game-winning kick went through the uprights in Denver, clinching Chicago's 16-14 win over the host Broncos and ensuring the Bears' first victory of 2019, it had been just under 252 days since the double-doink, the kick that ended Cody Parkey's career in Chicago and sent Bears coach Matt Nagy and his staff on a mad chase for a reliable kicker.

On Sunday afternoon, at long last, Bears fans could finally boast they had one.

Pineiro's 53-yard field goal with zeroes on the clock, his third successful kick of the day (all from at least 40 yards), was a cathartic one not just for the Bears roster, whose 2018 season was derailed by kicking woes, but Pineiro himself. In his second-ever NFL game, the 24-year-old was a hero.

"It felt different. This was an emotional kick," Pineiro said following the game. "With everything I've been through. The whole kicking situation. The Augusta silence. The media, everybody piling on."

Chicago's search for a kicker was long and well-publicized. At one point, the Bears were trying out nine kickers at one time (none of whom eventually made the Week 1 roster), forcing them to kick in dead silence (in the vein of putting at Augusta National to test their mettle-slash-ability to kick in the clutch. Such genes were sorely needed.

Entering Sunday, the Bears had the second-lowest success rate on clutch field goals (74.4 percent), including the postseason, since 2014, according to NFL Research.

Pineiro, named the Bears' kicker in the preseason, increased that percentage on Sunday afternoon.

"I like rooting for good people and he's a good person," Bears coach Matt Nagy told reporters. "He fought for a lot to get to this point. He listened to coaches, he trusted himself, and teammates that believe in him. Good things happen to good people. 42-yarder, 52-yarder, 53 to win the game. Can't make that up."

Pineiro was seen partying in the Bears' locker room, christened "Club Dub" following wins last season, wearing a cowboy hat, emphasizing the tension around Chicago's kicker situation has been lifted two games into the season.

Pineiro is a perfect 4-for-4 on field goals, with a long game-winner to boot.

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