Cairo Santos’ eyes were puffy and his face slightly red as he answered questions in the locker room following the Bears’ 28-19 loss to the Packers.
The frustration in his voice was also obvious.
Santos missed an extra point opportunity after David Montgomery’s 7-yard touchdown run in Sunday’s first half. He also had a 40-yard field goal attempt blocked in the fourth quarter.
Both miscues loomed large in the Bears’ 10th loss of the season.
“I just gotta do my job,” Santos said. “I’m done making any excuses. There’s no excuse out there. It’s frustrating. I try putting my ‘A’ product every day. I felt like I’ve done a great job there all year. I can be confident in saying that.”
But although Santos has been in a slump, there is no reason to lose faith and give up on the nine-year pro.
Going into the game, Santos was 16-for-17 on field goals and 21-for-24 on extra points. Outside of missing two extra points in the wet Week 1 victory over the 49ers, Santos has been consistent.
Yet since Week 10, the veteran kicker has missed on some kicks at the worst time.
Against the Lions, Santos failed on his extra point after a Fields 67-yard touchdown run. The Bears lost, 31-30. The following week, Santos couldn’t connect on a 56-yard field goal against the Falcons. The Bears lost, 27-24.
But Bears fans should know it’s normal for kickers to go in slumps every once in a while.
Robbie Gould was as consistent and reliable as anyone. You don’t become the team’s all-time leader in points scored if you’re not. But his 2015 season with Chicago, when he finished 33-for-39 on field goals, including two misses in a winnable game against the 49ers, played a part in him being cut the following year.
And everyone knows about the parade of kickers after that: Connor Barth, Roberto Aguayo, Mike Nugent, Cody Parkey, Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro.
On the other hand, Gould returned to his old self when he joined the 49ers.
So now is not the time to panic about a kicker who made 86.7 percent of his field goals last season and 93.8 percent in 2020.
Santos said he wants to get back to things as quickly as possible, but he’s going to have to wait for it.
“It’s just more emotionally, just like you can’t wait for the next opportunity, so going into the bye week it just kind of stinks even more,” Santos said. “The confidence isn’t affected but it’s just like more emotional. Just got to be resilient through it. Just going through something in my career. I feel like I haven’t gone through with the extra points, especially how I feel it has been going for me practice and everything I need to do leading up to a game.”
Even though Santos is not a fan of the Week 14 Bye Week, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Santos has a week to reset and come back focused to close out the final four games of the 2022 season.