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Chalk Talk

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Chalk Talk: When was last time Bears did not defer?

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.

I don't recall the Bears ever winning a coin toss and then receiving the opening kickoff like they did Sunday against the Lions, but I'm sure it's happened. When was the last time that occurred?
Pete F.
Mokena, Illinois

The Bears have won the coin toss 29 times in four seasons with Matt Nagy as coach and Sunday marked only the second time they opted to receive the opening kickoff and not defer until the second half. The only other occurrence was last Dec. 20 in Minnesota when they received the opening kickoff but went three-and-out in a 33-27 win. The strategy worked perfectly last Sunday against the Lions, however, as the Bears marched 75 yards on the game's opening drive to take a 7-0 lead they would never relinquish in a 24-14 victory.

I thought Robert Quinn led the Bears with four sacks entering Week 4 and then he recorded a full sack against the Lions. But I see he is only being credited with 4.5 sacks now. What happened?
Frank P.
Clayton, Missouri

The NFL and the Elias Sports Bureau review every NFL play and sometimes make corrections to statistics typically on Wednesdays. That happened after Week 2 when Robert Quinn was given an additional full sack that he wasn't initially credited with in the Bears' win over the Bengals. It happened again last week, only it was determined that Quinn did not deserve a full sack versus the Browns but instead should share it with Mario Edwards, Jr., and that adjustment was made to their stats.

Why were the Bears assessed a 15-yard penalty against the Lions for interfering with the punt returner's ability to catch the ball when he was able to catch it? Is there a certain amount of space the return man must be given to field the ball?
Phil G.
Pennsylvania

There is no NFL rule that requires the punt coverage team to give the returner a 1-yard or 2-yard halo. Here's how interference with the ability to catch a punt is defined in the NFL rulebook: "Members of the kicking team are prohibited from interfering with any receiver making an attempt to catch the airborne kick, or from obstructing or hindering his path to the airborne kick, and regardless of whether any signal was given … It is interference if a player of the kicking team contacts the receiver, or causes a passive player of either team to contact the receiver, before or simultaneous to the receiver touching the ball." The play that you're referring to against the Lions that resulted in a penalty on Xavier Crawford probably could have gone either way. I asked coach Matt Nagy about the explanation he received from the officials and here's what he said: "They said it was in their opinion what they saw that is was illegal and that he hit him too soon … it's easy for all of us and I'm a part of it down there, too. You get emotional; you get into it. That's a big play. But it's easy for us to look at it on TV and see it in slow motion. Those referees have a tough time, that sometimes seeing that one is bang-bang like that, so that's the explanation he gave me."

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

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