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Santos named NFC special teams player of week

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Bears kicker Cairo Santos has been honored as the NFC special teams player of the week for his performance in last Sunday's 23-16 win over the Panthers.

Santos made all three field-goals he attempted from 31, 55 and 31 yards to give the Bears leads of 10-3, 13-6 and 23-13. His booming 55-yarder with :02 left in the first half was a career-long and came less than two minutes after the Panthers had closed the gap to 10-6 on a 20-yard field goal.

"I was pretty excited to get that chance to keep the momentum going and get some points," Santos said Wednesday. "Knew we were getting the ball [to start the second half], so I thought it was going to be good momentum for us. When I saw it was 55—obviously I knew it was going to be my career long—it added a little more juice. But I had some wind helping at my back. So I was focused on just getting a smooth, solid ball, and let everything take care [of itself]. It turned out to be exactly what we were able to do, ball down the middle, so it was a good kick for me."

Santos, who signed with the Bears Aug. 25, has now made 10-of-12 field-goal attempts (83.3 percent) this season, including his last seven in a row.

Prior to this year, Santos had appeared in 67 NFL games over six seasons with the Chiefs (2014-17), Bears (2017), Rams (2018), Buccaneers (2018) and Titans (2019), converting 80.6 percent of his field-goal tries (108 of 134).

Santos converted 84.8 percent of his field-goal attempts (89 of 105) during his first four NFL seasons with the Chiefs when Bears coach Matt Nagy was a Kansas City assistant on Andy Reid's staff.

"Just from him being a kicker in Kansas City when I was there for those years, I always had a lot of confidence in him," Nagy said. "Every time he was there, never once did I ever think about the kick being made or the kick being missed. I'll be honest with you: I'm really in that mode right now with him.

"That 55-yarder, it didn't shock me that he hit it. The thing with Cairo is that he's very confident and he doesn't get [down]. If he missed a kick, [he'll think], 'OK, I missed a kick, I'll get the next one,' and I appreciate that about him."

This is the first player of the week award that Santos has won, though he was named AFC special teams player of the month for November 2016 after he made all 11 field goals and five extra points he attempted in four games for the Chiefs.

Santos is the first Bears' special teams player of the week since Eddy Piñeiro was honored in Week 2 of last season after he made all three field-goals he attempted, including a game-winning 53-yarder as time expired, in a 16-14 victory over the Broncos in Denver. Piñeiro has spent the first six weeks of the season on injured reserve with a groin injury.

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