CHICAGO – A year ago, it was all sunny around Soldier Field, even if there were heavy clouds blanketing the Windy City.
The Bears were back in the postseason, their defense was terrifying, and their offense was trying new things that got fans in Chicago excited about that side of the ball for once. The Wild Card game against the Eagles was going to be the start of something special under new head coach Matt Nagy, with big things expected during the late afternoon and early evening of January 6, 2018.
You know what would happen over the course of that contest, specifically the final seconds of the game. It was a moment which Bears fans were introduced to the term “Double Doink.”
Cody Parkey, who’d hit three field goals earlier in the game, hit an upright then the crossbar with his 43-yard kick to potentially win the game. It was the sixth time he’d nailed the goal post during the season, and it put a stunning end to the Bears’ 2018 that featured so many positive developments while providing their city with a dubious moment in its sporting history.
The phrase “double doink” became synonymous with the season, and kicked off a bizarre year where a lot of the optimism generated by a 12-4 season was turned in skepticism towards Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace after the team finished 8-8 in 2019.
A bizarre rookie training camp saw the Bears try out eight different kickers with the hope of earning Parkey’s old spot, with each trying the 43-yarder that the kicker missed in the playoff game at the end of practice in “Augusta Silence.” None of them would get the job, with the franchise choosing Eddy Pineiro, a kicker whom they’d acquired from the Raiders, as their guy midway through the preseason.
As the Bears wrestled with the kicker competition, the offense failed to get better, and that was put on national display in the NFL’s opening game of the season on September 5th. Mitchell Trubisky was nearly picked a half-dozen times and eventually was in the closing moments of a 10-3 defeat by, of all people, former Bears safety Adrian Amos. It would kick off a difficult season for the offense, especially Trubisky, who saw a decrease in nearly every statistical category when it was hoped he would find more consistency.
But he didn’t, completing 63.2 percent of his passes for 3,183 yards with 17 touchdowns compared to ten interceptions and a rating of 83, which was 28th among quarterbacks in the NFL. Nagy’s playcalling came under fire as well as it lacked the flair which it showed at times during the 2018 season, with the unit averaging just 17.5 points and 296.8 yards per contest (both 29th in the NFL).
While the defense was still good (4th in points allowed in the NFL), they lacked the turnover punch that aided their success in 2018, and couldn’t do enough to pick up the offense in order to save the season. Just a year after making the playoffs, there are now questions across the board for this group that many thought would be on a mission for Miami this January.
Instead, the “Double Doink” lives on, and so do the doubt about the franchise that lost that fateful game one year ago.