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Chalk Talk

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Chalk Talk: Is Nichols having his best season?

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.

It seems to me that Bilal Nichols is having his best season as a member of the Bears. Would you agree with that?
Roger E.
Kenilworth, Illinois

Defensive tackle Bilal Nichols is certainly on his way to having the best of his three years with the Bears. With Eddie Goldman opting out of the season due to COVID-19 and injuries to Roy Robertson-Harris and John Jenkins, Nichols has been making the most of expanded playing time. The 2018 fifth-round pick from Delaware is producing the impact plays he made as a rookie when he had 3.0 sacks, 5.0 tackles-for-loss and seven quarterback hits. In starting the first nine games this season, Nichols already has generated 2.0 sacks, 5.0 tackles-for-loss and six quarterback hits while playing a career-high 55 percent of the defensive snaps. Here's what defensive line coach Jay Rodgers said about Nichols this week: "Bilal has played a significant amount of snaps as compared to other years. He's a versatile player. He's a smart player. He's really improved his pass rush, going from years past to this year. And you're starting to see some of that hard work pay off. I like where Bilal is. I think he and I would both agree there's still more there that we could get production-wise. But he's a really good, tough-minded, hard-nosed football player. I love having him around."

When was the last time a team faced the NFL's leading rusher in back-to-back games like the Bears are doing against Derrick Henry and Dalvin Cook?
Walt K.
Colorado

According to NFL Media Research, this is only the second time an NFL team will have faced the league's leading rusher in consecutive games in Week 8 or later since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970. The only previous occurrence was in Weeks 10-11 in 2002 when the 49ers played against the Chiefs' Priest Holmes and the Chargers' LaDainian Tomlinson. Both backs were rushing for an average of more than 100 yards per game, but San Francisco held Holmes to 51 yards on 11 carries and Tomlinson to 88 yards on 24 attempts.  

I recall a time not too long ago that the Bears could never win on Monday Night Football, but that has seemed to change. What's their record on MNF over the last 10 years or so?
Darren B.
Evanston, Illinois

The Bears struggled on Monday Night Football for more than a decade, compiling a 4-14 record from 1991-2003. They started to reverse that trend, however, beginning with their amazing 24-23 comeback win over the Cardinals in 2006 when the Bears proved to Dennis Green and the rest of the world that they were "who we thought they were!" Starting with that memorable game, the Bears are 16-7 on Monday Night Football, including a loss this season to the Rams.

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

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