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Chalk Talk


Chalk Talk: Why didn't Bears throw Hail Mary at end of first half?

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

Why didn't the Bears throw a Hail Mary into the end zone as time expired in the first half Sunday against the Patriots like they did at the end of the game?
Steven B.
Oakwood, California

Coach Matt Nagy felt it would be more advantageous to throw underneath the coverage to Tarik Cohen and possibly draw a penalty that could result in a field-goal attempt than throwing into the end zone where half the Patriots defense would be. Said Nagy: "We do offseason studies and we look at different scenarios and see different things that can happen and there's a lot of times in those situations when you [throw a Hail Mary] and all of a sudden the quarterback's dropping back and he's running around and there's a freak sack, all of a sudden a guy gets hurt. We've also done studies where a guy catches an easy pass and he goes ahead and he runs and we've seen where there's been a facemask [penalties] and now you get a field goal. It's six of one, half a dozen of the other. I don't think either one is wrong in that scenario."

Why did the Bears drop their outside linebackers into coverage so much against Tom Brady? How much did that have to do with Khalil Mack not being 100 percent healthy?
David J.

Khalil Mack's ankle injury may have factored into that decision to drop the outside linebackers back into pass coverage more than usual, but listening to coach Matt Nagy explain it, it sounds like it was more of a schematic thing against a quarterback in Tom Brady who is known for the success he has in beating blitzes. Said Nagy: "That was something that we did a little bit more obviously yesterday than we have in the past and it creates another defender for the quarterback to have to throw around. And don't think that's the first time [Brady] has seen that. He's seen that defense a lot from a lot of different teams. When you decide to drop eight versus him, you have to be good at."

While watching the replay of the Patriots' kickoff return for a touchdown, I believe I saw the officials miss a block in the back penalty on New England. Was I the only one to see that?
Clyde S.

No, you weren't. It was pretty clear that a penalty could have been called on New England's Nate Ebner for blocking the Bears' Sherrick McManis in the back right as Cordarrelle Patterson raced by him. It looked to me like Ebner shoved McManis in the back, but as you know, no penalty flag was thrown on the play.

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