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Cody Parkey bounces back with perfect performance

Forget Khalil Mack or Mitchell Trubisky or Akiem Hicks. The hero of the Chicago Bears' crucial win over their NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings might have been their kicker.

Fresh off of an embarrassing four-miss performance in Week 10, Bears kicker Cody Parkey bounced back in a big way, knocking in all three of his field goal attempts in Chicago's five-point victory.

Parkey hit kicks from 33 and 41 yards out in the first half, but saved his best and longest for last.

With the Bears up eight points with 2:48 to go in the fourth quarter and facing a fourth-and-4 from Minnesota's 30-yard line, coach Matt Nagy put his trust in the embattled kicker to attempt a game-sealing 48-yard field goal. Parkey hit it right down the middle and celebrated with his teammates his return from the kicking doldrums.

"That was awesome," Parkey explaiend to NBC's Michele Tafoya. "I was kind of just waiting on the sideline seeing what we were going to call. They sent me out there and every single one of the players was like, 'You got this.' So my teammates are amazing, my coaches are amazing."

"That [decision] wasn't an easy one," Nagy admitted to reporters following the win. "It was one where there's just so many things that you can think of. You want to stay positive. You want to think [if] we make the field goal, you make [the lead] nine points. ...

"In the end ... I'm just really, really happy for everybody on that field goal team to make a great snap, to make a great hold, to make a pressure kick. And you could see how proud our guys were of [Parkey] and the rest of those guys. I think that's something special."

One week ago, Parkey hit four kicks off the uprights -- two field goals and two extra points -- in Chicago's win over the Lions at Soldier Field. The 26-year-old kicker responded by practicing kicking at the Bears' home stadium this week, 35 miles away from Chicago's facility, telling reporters, "I mean, it can't hurt."

On Sunday night, practice made perfect for Parkey.

"On special teams, it's just amazing how things go in life and how things work," Nagy said. "For that to happen, what happened last week and then for Cody to come back this week and be 3-for-3 in field goals, it's just a testament to who he is as a person. Then to see our team rally behind him, that's a special moment we'll all remember."

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