Parkey not all to blame for Bears loss


John Shay, Staff Reporter

It is the 2018 NFL Wild Card round, and it’s the first time the Chicago Bears have made a playoff appearance since 2010. The Bears are down 16-15 against the Philadelphia Eagles. It is the 4th quarter with 10 seconds left on the clock, and Bears kicker Cody Parkey is set up attempt the game-winning 43 yard field goal. Every Bears fan is watching, with a mix of nervousness and excitement. The ball is snapped back, and the holder places the ball in position. Parkey kicks the ball, and it starts to veer to the left. Time seems to slow almost to a standstill as the ball flies through the air towards the field goal posts. The ball hits the left upright, then the crossbar, and finally bounces to the ground as the referees signal that the kick does not count. Bears fans across the world are heartbroken as they come back to reality and realize that they will have to wait another year to see their team have a chance at the Super Bowl.

Most Bears fans will blame this loss solely on Parkey, but as gratifying as that excuse may be, it isn’t totally accurate. The alleged missed field goal was being reviewed by NFL officials, and on January 7, 2019, the NFL officially changed the ruling of the play from a missed field goal to a blocked kick. Further slowed down replays reveal that, in fact, the ball had been tipped by Eagles defensive lineman Treyvon Hester. Had Hester missed the tip, the Bears may have moved on, but there are a series of events that could have changed to alter the Bears’ playoff path.

To put it simply, the Bears’ defense started off very slow. It wasn’t until later into the game that they could really get anything started, leaving most of the points to be scored by none other than Parkey, with the actual offense only scoring one touchdown and a failed two point conversion. Parkey actually ended with more points (9) than the Bears offense (6).

The defense had been playing well over the course of the game, with a total of two interceptions against reigning super bowl MVP quarterback Nick Foles. Nevertheless, the defense did not come through when it was needed. Despite holding the Eagles to a 4th and goal situation, a game winning touchdown pass from Foles to wide receiver Golden Tate III put the Eagles in the lead with 56 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter. Had the defense been able to stop this late game push, the end of the game may have been different in favor of the Bears.

Another aspect that could have contributed to the loss was the fact that Bears starting safety Eddie Jackson did not play a single snap in the Bears playoff debut. Jackson went down with an ankle injury in their week 15 game vs. the Green Bay Packers. He was out for the next two weeks, but was listed as active going into the Wild Card Matchup vs. Philadelphia. Despite being listed as active, Jackson did not play at all against the Eagles, which could have hurt the defense and their presence against the passing game.

Despite some obvious mistakes in a key game that was a must win for the Bears, fans should not be worried about the team. This loss was a key lesson in which both Bears coaches and players learned from. It is also a feeling that will surely stick with all of the players on this Bears team going into the 2019-2020 season, and that feeling could very much work in the team’s favor next season.

The Bears also have an extremely young playerbase, with many key players such as Akiem Hicks and Tarik Cohen being in their 20’s. If the team continues to grow under head coach Matt Nagy, this surely will not be the last time they have a successful season.

The loss can be blamed on many different things. The defense failed to stop the Eagles offense on the goal line, the offense wasn’t productive until late game, Parkey’s missed field goal, and other reasons such as the lack of a run game from star running backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Whatever the reason Bears fans see fit, the team is still very young, with a brilliant coach, and as long as the team keeps their young core and improves over the offseason, Chicago will see another playoff run in the near future.