Cairo Santos' Field Goal Streak Ended After Using ... a Backup Kicking Ball?

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Cairo Santos’ Field Goal Streak Ended After Using … a Backup Kicking Ball?

Chicago Bears

A 56-yard field goal felt like a long shot for Cairo Santos, but that’s what the Bears asked of their place-kicker doing around the 1:20 mark in the second quarter on Sunday.

And to be sure, Santos has hit from distance before — nailing a 55-yarder during the 2020 season — so asking for one more yard really wasn’t stretching it too much. Unfortunately, Santos’ attempt fell just a hair short of going through the uprights (… about a yard, actually). And what turned out to be a 27-24 Bears loss, those three points loomed largely at the end of the day.

But the process of how Santos and the Bears got there is weird – even by Bears standards:

Is your mind blown? Don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Let’s follow the timeline of events:

  • 7:37, 2nd qtr: Cordarrelle Patterson fumbles (forced by Jaquan Brisker), giving the Bears the ball.
  • 4:31, 2nd qtr: Justin Fields scores a 4-yard rushing touchdown, PAT by Santos is good.
  • 13 seconds later: Patterson is returning the ensuing kickoff for a 103-yard touchdown return, which set a record for most kickoff return touchdowns in a career.
  • Patterson is given the game ball for his achievement.
  • 1:20, 2nd: Cairo Santos’ 56-yard field goal attempt is short, using the backup “K” ball because Patterson had taken the record-breaking ball with him.

All of that to say that Santos was using a backup ball when he missed a field goal that was one yard short of a career best in a game lost by the Bears by a mere three points. How in the wide world of sports did everything line up for THAT to happen?

As Finley notes in his story, NFL teams traditionally carry three “K” balls with them. But I’m not sure how often a squad goes through all three. Heck, I can’t recall the last time using a backup ball was in play. That the Bears had to go to their backup ball, only to watch their kicker miss a 56-yard field goal while using it is an odd-ball occurrence. And something that feels like would happen only to the Bears.

I’m not saying that Santos definitely would’ve made it from 56 yards out had he had his regular ball. But would Cairo have made it had he had his original “K” ball? It’s fair to ask. Even if the world will never know.



Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.