An embattled kicker who had endured an up-and-down regular season but emerged with confidence going into the playoffs lined up a potential game-winning kick for a division-winning NFC North team playing at home and locked in a low-scoring battle during wild card weekend.
The kicker had made all three of his field-goal tries leading up to that final attempt, and if he could make one more his team would escape to the next round.
Vikings fans watched with anticipation — and then horror — when this scenario played out three years ago and Blair Walsh missed way wide left on a 27-yard attempt in a 10-9 loss to Seattle.
And now Bears fans have their own demons, after Cody Parkey had the same thing happen with the exact same buildup. He missed a 43-yarder — hitting the left upright and the crossbar after the ball was partly deflected — and the Bears lost 16-15 to the Eagles.
Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. firstname.lastname@example.org.