Kicker gets redemption

Edinger ends all talk about slumps

DENVER - Bears kicker Paul Edinger couldn't help feel a little self-satisfaction.

"I don't think anybody's talking about a slump now," said Edinger after making field goals of 33, 23, 54 and 47 yards in the Bears' 19-10 win over Denver.

Edinger had missed three of his previous four field goal tries, one of which was blocked. And it had caused coach Dick Jauron to label it a slump last week.

"It's like Paul said: `what slump?' " Jauron commented after the Bears' first road win since beating Atlanta in Week 2 last season.

Edinger's 54-yard field goal matched his career best and came with three seconds left in the half.

He had made a 54-yarder to beat Detroit in the 2000 season-finale.

His four field goals also matched a career high.

The 47-yarder with 8:46 to play provided the cushion the Bears' defense needed to tee off on Broncos kicker Jake Plummer.

"I miss one of those kicks and they've got a whole different mindset on that last drive," said Edinger, who also had his first touchback on a kickoff this season.

The long-distance kicks loomed all the more impressive considering they came in 8-degree wind chill on a windy day. The Denver area had been hit hard by 6 inches of snow on Saturday and it provided for a wintry setting.

"When you step on the field, it's another game," Edinger said. "The cold just disappears."

Edinger said he tried to ignore the criticism he'd received, anyway, simply for the sake of his own kicking.

"I wasn't even worried about it," Edinger said. "It (the `slump") never even crossed my mind. I just stepped on the field and made the kicks."

Edinger heard all the criticism after he had missed two critical field goals in losses to Detroit and St. Louis in successive weeks.

"You don't want anybody talking bad about you," he said. "It's gone now."


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