Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk: What happened on Miller fumble?

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

Why didn’t the Bears get to keep the ball at the spot where Anthony Miller fumbled it against the Eagles after the call was reversed to a fumble?
Phil R.
Michigan

It’s all because of an obscure NFL rule. If the original ruling is an incomplete pass, it cannot be reversed to a completed catch if there’s a fumble with no clear recovery by either team on the play. So even though Anthony Miller made the catch before he fumbled, the officials did make the correct ruling because no player from either team picked up the ball. If a Bears player did recover it, he could not have advanced it because it occurred in the final two minutes of the first half. Here’s what the NFL rulebook says: “When a pass is ruled incomplete, either team can challenge that it was a catch and fumble and that they gained possession of the ball, if there is a clear recovery. The replay official can also initiate a review of this play if it occurs after the two-minute warning or during overtime. If there is video evidence of a clear recovery by either team, the ball will be awarded to that team at the spot of the recovery, but no advance will be allowed. On fourth down or inside two minutes, the ball will be brought back to the spot of the fumble if recovered beyond it. If there is no video evidence of a clear recovery or the ball going out of bounds, the ruling of incomplete stands.”

How much do you think the loss to the Eagles in the playoffs will motivate the Bears next season? Hopefully they can turn it into a positive.
David K.
Lincoln, Nebraska

I’m sure that the Bears will treat it much as they did their Week 1 loss to the Packers. After blowing a 20-0 lead in a 24-23 loss, they vowed to learn from it so they would never have to experience the sting of that type of defeat again. The lesson they learned from that game was to finish, and it’s something they applied the rest of the season. The loss to the Eagles was even more bitter given that it was a playoff game, and coach Matt Nagy vowed that the Bears would learn from it and that the sick feeling in the pit of everyone’s stomach would motivate them moving forward. Here’s what Nagy said after last Sunday’s loss: “We can’t see it right now, but I guarantee you that feeling we just had in the locker room is going to help us in the future.”

Why didn’t the Bears replace Cody Parkey during the season after he hit the upright four times against the Lions? The playoff loss could have been avoided.
Phil W.
Waukegan, Illinois

After Cody Parkey missed four kicks against the Lions, he rebounded a week later to make all three of his field-goal attempts to help the Bears beat the Vikings 25-20 in a battle for first place in the NFC North. His clutch 48-yarder with 2:48 remaining in the fourth quarter made it a two-score game and helped him earn NFC special-teams player of the week honors. Several teams had issues with their kickers this season and not all of them made changes in large part because good kickers don’t grow on trees and they’re typically not out on the street during the regular season. General manager Ryan Pace does an excellent job of bolstering the roster throughout the year—a perfect example is the signing of offensive lineman Bryan Witzmann in October—and I’m sure if he felt he could have made an upgrade at kicker he would have done so.

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