PK Eddy Pineiro was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after propelling the Bears to their first victory by drilling a 53-yard game-winning field goal as the clock expired in Denver Sunday.
The 24-year-old Pineiro, in his second NFL season after spending his rookie year on injured reserve with the Oakland Raiders, is one of only three kickers in the league so far this season to drill two 50-yarders in a game this season. Yet, Pineiro — who also hit from 52 and 40, in addition to connecting on his lone PAT attempt of 2019 — was the only one to including a game-winning buzzer beater in their day's work.
Pineiro, who won the job out of camp over Elliott Fry to replace Cody Parkey, has converted his first four FGAs and showed signs of being the stabilizer of Chicago's most turbulent position since franchise scoring leader Robbie Gould's jettisoning shortly before the 2016 season.
The former Florida Gator was acquired by GM Ryan Pace via trade from the Oakland Raiders in May in exchange for a conditional 2021 seventh-round draft pick. Pace had tried nearly every other avenue in replacing Gould, including vet free-agent signings both on the cheap and breaking the bank, college free agents and a waiver claim.
Fittingly, the compensation on the Pineiro trade won't become official until he's spent at least four games on the roster. He got halfway to that mark by authoring as clutch of a performance in as dire of a spot since, well, at least Week 11 last season, when Parkey earned the same honor for hitting all three of his tries — from 33, 41 and 48 — in a 25-20 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
Of course, Parkey is remembered more for his failed chance less than two months later, the infamous double-doink in January that led to his release only one year into a four-year contract with more than $5 million guaranteed remaining. Whatever confidence, then, Parkey might have gained from the honor clearly didn't last too long.
But Pineiro's confidence has appeared to be a strong suit early in his Bears tenure, which he officially began after the most discussed kicking competition in NFL history. This award should also mark at least some short-term gratification for Bears brass, the target of much speculation over the way its gone about moving on from the high-priced Parkey.
Conversely, Pineiro is kicking on a three-year, $1.7 million deal — which is already beginning to pay off.