Ron Rivera iced Bears kicker as a favor

AP

Panthers coach Ron Rivera wasn’t trying to be a jerk to his old team. He was trying to do them a favor.

Rivera took the unusual step of calling a timeout to ice the Bears kicker at the end of the first half, but Elliott Fry nailed the 43-yarder anyway.

“You know what is funny, I did that to help the Bears because they are in a kicking contest,” Rivera said, via Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com.

Bears coach Matt Nagy denied that it was planned between them, yet added: “but I’m kind of glad he did it.”

The Bears have been trying every gimmick they can think of in their search for a kicker to replace Cody Parkey, from having eight kickers (and also a punter) try field goals in minicamp, to their “Augusta silence” routine of having everything stop during practice while these poor bastards do their jobs.

To his credit, Fry hit the 43-yard field goal into the north end zone, the same length and place as  Parkey’s famous double-doink playoff miss.

“You could feel it,” Nagy said. “You could sense it, from all the fans, and I looked over and I said — after the completion down the middle, and then they spotted it, and I’m so used to seeing — like my math is really good right now. I can figure out real quick how far a field goal kick is from the spot of the ball, so I realized it was 43. Am I right? Yeah, then coach Rivera pops a timeout, too.”

Fry’s competition at the moment, Eddy Pineiro, missed wide left on a 48-yard  field goal attempt but hit a 23-yarder.