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 noticed that Kevin Toliver took over for Prince Amukamara at cornerback late in Sunday's game against the Packers. Did the Bears bench Amukamara or was he injured?
Bears coach Matt Nagy explained Monday that the move was not performance-related and instead was due to "managing reps" because Prince Amukamara was dealing with a hamstring injury that forced him to miss the Cowboys game.
I disagreed with the penalty that was called on Cordarrelle Patterson Sunday for hitting the Packers' punt returner. What is the actual rule? I think I remember something about giving the return man a certain amount of space to catch the ball.
I do not believe that the punt returner is afforded any type of halo or cushion to catch the ball. The NFL rulebook states that "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 his touching the ball." A slow-motion replay appeared to show that Patterson did not hit Packers punt returner Tyler Ervin until a split-second after he had caught the ball. So the play—which resulted in a muff and recovery by the Bears' Kevin Pierre-Louis—probably should have stood based on the rule. It's obviously a bang-bang play at full speed that is difficult to determine. Unfortunately, it is not the type of call that is permitted to be challenged. And because it was not ruled a turnover, it also is not subject to an automatic review.
Did Bears coach Matt Nagy consider challenging the official's ruling that Cordarrelle Patterson had one foot out of bounds on a crucial catch late in the second half Sunday against the Packers? It looked very close to me.
For those who don't know, the situation you're referring to transpired on the final play of the third quarter. On third-and-six from the Green Bay 9, Mitchell Trubisky scrambled to his right and hit Cordarrelle Patterson with a short pass that would have given the Bears a first down at the 2. But Patterson was ruled to have one foot out of bounds. In terms of challenging the call, it looked pretty obvious to me—and to coach Matt Nagy—that Patterson's foot was out of bounds. It was close, but I certainly don't think that there was definitive visual evidence to reverse the call. Here's what Nagy said about it after Sunday's game: "I know it was super close. Game of inches. Very definitive right away when it happened from the official that he said his left foot was out. Then we went to the break and upstairs [Bears coaches] are looking at it and it was pretty evident at that point in time [that Patterson's foot was out of bounds]. That's tough, too, because that's a big play. There's that balance of losing a challenge, losing a timeout, when you know every possession matters."