Pineiro Delivers Moment Of Redemption For Bears

DENVER, Colo. (670 The Score) -- When all had seemed lost late Sunday afternoon and the Bears were on the brink of disaster, kicker Eddy Pineiro was waiting for his winning moment.

The Bears had just relinquished their late lead with 31 seconds left and Pineiro, who inherited such immense pressure at his position, was looking to become the hero. With one second on the clock, that chance presented itself.

General manager Ryan Pace watched nervously from the press box atop Empower Field. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky struggled to look toward the goal posts. The Bears all held their breath on the visiting sidelines. Through it all, the 24-year-old Pineiro was confident as could be. In his biggest moment to date in Chicago, he drilled a 53-yard game-winning field goal at the buzzer to lift the Bears to a wild 16-14 win over the Broncos

The Bears mobbed Pineiro as Empower Field fell otherwise silent. It was the culmination of a unique kicker search that brought Chicago its man -- and a memorable victory.

"It means everything," Pineiro said of that game-winning field goal. "I've been working my butt off. All the stuff I've been through, the Augusta silence, kickers getting cut left and right, all the crazy things going on. It was a pretty cool moment to have this opportunity."

To give Pineiro his chance, Trubisky drove the Bears 40 yards in six plays to the Broncos' 35-yard line. The key play was a 25-yard strike from Trubisky to receiver Allen Robinson as time nearly expired, but Bears coach Matt Nagy had ensured the side judge was ready for a timeout if time remained. Though the clock hit zeroes and the Broncos were on the verge of victory, the officials conferred and granted the Bears one more second.

In the victorious visiting locker room, Nagy reminded the Bears of the power in that last opportunity with the football.

"They believed it," Nagy said. "They did it. We said, 'You need one second and the ball.' If you got one second and the ball, you got a chance to win."

"I always say that good things happen to good people. Well, (Pineiro is) good people and good things happened today."

The Bears acquired Pineiro in a trade from the Raiders in May. He arrived at the time as the team's third kicker on the roster and entered unique circumstances. 

The Bears had started a kicking competition only weeks after a 16-15 loss to the Eagles on Jan. 6, a game in which kicker Cody Parkey missed the potential game-winning 43-yard field goal off the left upright and bottom crossbar in the final seconds. The Bears tried out countless kickers, putting them through all kinds of pressure -- attempting Parkey's 43-yarder, working in what Nagy referred to as "Augusta silence" and placing plenty of eyes on each kick.

By late August, the Bears had enough belief in Pineiro that they cut Elliott Fry as the last remaining competitor, which gave Pineiro one final challenge: prove he was the guy. 

He did as the Bears stood by him with a belief that he could deliver. Together, they celebrated a moment of redemption Sunday.

"Hopefully now I can keep coming through for Chicago," Pineiro said.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.