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Chalk Talk

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Chalk Talk: How has O-line performed?

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.

How do you rate the offensive line's performance in each of the past four games? Is it safe to say the success of the offensive line is the most critical factor in how far the Bears go this season?
Jim N.
Charlotte, North Carolina

I thought the Bears offensive line showed marked improvement in the first three games this season compared to last year. There were more holes and lanes for the running backs than I saw at any point in 2019. I also noticed that James Daniels was playing at a very high level, especially in terms of run blocking and pulling from his left guard position. The Bears seemed to be building an identity that was lacking last season as a team that could establish a running game. However, I think we can all agree that the line took a step back in last Sunday's loss to the Colts in terms of getting outplayed at the line of scrimmage. A lot of that no doubt had to do with facing one of the NFL's best defensive lines. So it'll be interesting to see how the Bears bounce back Thursday night against another excellent defensive line when they host the Buccaneers. Hopefully the offensive line reverts to the form it displayed in the first three games of the season.

Have the Bears ever beaten a Tom Brady-led team?
Grant W.
Birmingham, United Kingdom

Not yet, Grant. The Bears enter Thursday night's game having lost all five matchups with future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. Of course, all of those games came during Brady's 20-year career with the Patriots from 2000-19. The scores of those contests were 33-30 in 2002 in Champaign, 17-13 in 2006 in New England, 36-7 in 2010 in Chicago, 51-23 in 2014 in New England and 38-31 in 2018 in Chicago. In those five games, Brady completed 70.4 percent of his passes for 1,595 yards with 14 touchdowns, four interceptions and a 109.2 passer rating. 

Did the Bears sign Lamar Miller because Artavis Pierce is not progressing as quickly as they hoped?
Mike J.
Port Charlotte, Florida

No, the Bears signed Lamar Miller to their practice squad because he's a veteran running back who's had a lot of success in the NFL. He's had two 1,000-yard seasons and was voted to the Pro Bowl as recently as 2018 after rushing for 973 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games. Unfortunately, Miller tore his ACL in a 2019 preseason game. But like I said, he brings experience and ability to the Bears. His signing had nothing to do with Artavis Pierce, an undrafted rookie who was elevated to the active roster last week after Tarik Cohen was lost for the season with a knee injury.

Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.

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