It Bears repeating: Chicago misses another end-of-game kick, loses to Chargers

Just when you thought the Chicago Bears had settled their kicking situation, they suffered another end-game missed kick at Soldier Field.

This game didn’t sting as much as the double-doink playoff loss from January, but the Bears fell to 3-4 as Eddy Pineiro pushed a 41-yard try wide left at the final gun in a 17-16 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. After the fortunate victory, the Chargers remain alive at 3-5.

The Bears thought they had their kicking issues solved with Pineiro, but missed a field-goal try earlier in the game from 33 yards. He was 3-of-5 on field-goal tries in the game after entering the game 9-of-10.

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This one can’t fall solely on the kicker.

The Bears outgained the Chargers, 388 yards to 231, and had 26 first downs to Los Angeles’ 11. Much-maligned QB Mitchell Trubisky led the Bears down the field with a few big plays on the final drive, including hitting Taylor Gabriel for a 22-yard completion and scrambling for 11 yards after nearly taking a sack.

Trubisky finished 23-of-35 for 253 yards and an interception. The Bears entered the Chargers’ red zone five times and scored only one touchdown — a David Montgomery run. It was Montgomery’s best game as a Bear, rushing for 135 yards on 27 carries, but the rookie’s effort came in a brutal loss.

The Bears led 9-7 at halftime but were booed as they left the field because of their inability to punch in a touchdown despite having four first-half possessions inside the red zone. They are now 1-3 at home after going 7-1 at Soldier Field in head coach Matt Nagy’s first season.

Nagy will have to answer questions about his team’s red-zone woes, in addition to the tough kicking game. The Bears won a last-minute thriller in Denver earlier in the season on Piniero’s last-second kick, but they dropped to 1-3 in one-score games.

Nagy opted not to try to make it a closer kick for Piniero, saying he feared a negative play.

Melvin Gordon scored his first TD of the season for the Chargers. Philip Rivers also hit Austin Ekeler on the Chargers’ other score of the game. The Chargers’ defense allowed some yards but collected four sacks, deflected eight passes and picked off another. Joey Bosa had two of those sacks, including a huge one to knock the Bears out of field-goal range with just under three minutes left.

The Bears punted, got a stop on defense and were in position to win. The earlier lack of conversions near the end zone finally caught up with them just as Piniero’s kick drifted wide of the left upright.

Cody Parkey — last year’s kicking goat — might be gone, but the Bears’ issues of closing out games feels eerily similar.

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