Bernstein: So Why Was The Kick From That Spot?

A strange subplot in an unsatisfying Bears season still doesn't have an answer.

Dan Bernstein
October 30, 2019 - 2:10 pm
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(670 The Score) A full day and multiple media sessions after Bears kicker Eddie Pineiro admitted that his missed game-winning 41-yard field-goal attempt Sunday came from somewhere other than his preferred spot, we still have no idea how or why it happened.

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It wasn't for a lack of trying by the assembled reporters Wednesday, but coach Matt Nagy responded to questions about the apparent mix-up without actually explaining where along the line proper communication failed, instead choosing to make it all much less clear than before.

After the Bears took a knee, Pineiro missed the kick wide left from the left hash mark, a location he didn't prefer.

"We have a communication process that we use," Nagy said. "We understand everything that just went on in this past game. He knows it. We know it. And for us, we’ve moved on. That’s something, we have a clear communication process. We used it, and we’ve all talked about it."

Except it wasn't a clear communication process, if it resulted in Pineiro not having the ball where he wanted it. Nagy continued to repeat this ad nauseum, regardless.

"We have a communication process that we believe in that we use," Nagy reiterated. "So again, like I said, for us, there’s going to be a lot of scenarios as we go. There’s so many different situations — what time is on the clock? What’s the down-and-distance? Where’s the ball at? Etc. At that point in time, where we were, everything included, we felt really good about Eddy in a lot of ways making that kick."

He didn't make it, though, and any small factor that contributed to the negative outcome is worth discussing, particularly one so directly in a coach's control for a decision that the coach said he would make a thousand times given a thousand chances.

Nagy then came awfully close to questioning Pineiro's memory or truthfulness.

"I think yesterday when you were all talking to him, there’s a lot of things that go through kickers’ minds in a lot of different ways throughout a game," Nagy said. "Whatever his was, we completely support it. Again, there’s a lot of communication that goes on. That’s what we did."

So should we presume this means Pineiro had too much going through his mind Tuesday when he gave an honest answer to a direct question about where he wanted the ball, or did Pineiro have some kind of confusion during the game that caused him to recall incorrectly his expressed preference? Nagy left that nebulous. He was then given a chance to reaffirm that there was no breakdown in the transmission of information, despite Pineiro making clear that there was.

"We have a communication process that we used," Nagy said once more. "And we felt very comfortable in that situation and what we did. The communication between all of us was at 41 yards, he was going to make that kick. And he didn’t. We understand that, and he feels as bad as anybody. Whether it’s on the right hash, the middle or the left hash, he wants to make it. And he didn’t."

Pineiro said the left hash wasn't where he wanted the ball to be placed, and that's where it was. But Nagy is insisting the Bears' process worked correctly.

Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky made it clear that he was following direct orders to make sure the ball was on that left hash mark too. 

"Whatever he (Nagy) tells me to do, that's what I do," Trubisky said. 

He added he kneeled on the left hash because, "That's what we talked about."

So despite all this, we're no closer to understanding how this occurred. Either Pineiro actually asked for the ball to be placed there at the time and said Tuesday for some reason that he actually didn't want it there, or his preference never was relayed to Nagy or Trubisky screwed up on his end.  

Any of these can still be true, as we close the door quite unsatisfyingly on one of the strangest small stories of a season gone sideways like the errant kick itself.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in midday. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan_Bernstein.