For the first time in what seems like forever, the Chicago Bears have zero drama at the kicker position and the newly extended kicker points to one specific moment that “kicked” him into gear…. Like what I did there?
After missing a 46-yard FG last season in Atlanta, he reflected on the sidelines during the game:
“There was a little flashback that popped in my head of the previous teams I was on trying to come back from that (groin) injury and I always felt that pressure. I put that pressure on myself that this has to be the opportunity that I bounce back. I thought about this with the Bucs, with the Titans, so there we go again, I missed a kick in Atlanta.”
He was already a second option on the team and was only there because the guy already on the roster with kicking duties, Eddy Pineiro, was out with an injury. If he kept missing kicks (1/2 previous week), he might be on the market again.
“I just kind of accepted it as, if it’s meant to be, I’m gonna keep grinding so if I get another chance here in this game, I’m gonna attack that kick to make it,” Santos said. “If I’m done, I’ve gotta move on, because I keep trying (to be) and not being the guy I was in Kansas City. I felt like I started playing a little looser and put everything in God’s hands and went one kick at a time and here we are.”
From that point on, he began an impressive streak by making… one kick at a time. Santos now holds the franchise record at 27 consecutive kicks made with the opportunity to extend that in the 2021 season. He also finished the season after that Atlanta game making 29 of 30 extra points (leading to 36/37 on the season). This only adds to his impressive streak as extra points aren’t the gimmies they used to be. (His lone miss was also a block, not really his fault).
It was a season that truly changed his career and life.
“It was a life-changing year with everything that happened.”
With so many other questions on this team, it’s nice to not have kicker be one of them for a change. Let’s hope Cairo can keep this streak going and make that record untouchable.