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Chalk Talk

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Why a long pass on third-and-short?

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

On the Bears' first drive against the Dolphins, why did they throw a deep pass on third-and-one instead of going with a simple run play? Why take such a risk that early in the game?

Thomas B.

Coach Marc Trestman was asked about that decision during his press conference Monday at Halas Hall and explained that it was third and a long one and the Bears were looking to throw a short pass to pick up the first down. He said "it was closer to third-and-two than it was to third-and-one" and that the Bears called an "individual route on the outside with an option versus bump-and-run to throw the ball up the field. We decided to go up the field on the throw. We had a chance. We had one-on-one [coverage] and we didn't make the play."

It appears to me that right tackle Jordan Mills has been struggling the past two games. Do you think that Michael Ola will have a chance to replace him in the starting lineup?

Ross L.
Oak Lawn, Illinois

Bears coaches review the performance of each individual player every week. But with that being said, Jordan Mills has generally played well for the Bears since he not only made the team as a fifth-round draft pick last season but started all 16 games. I know the organization expects him to rebound from the last two games, especially in terms of eliminating penalties. During a Q-and-A with fans on ChicagoBears.com Tuesday, general manager Phil Emery said: "Jordan is a good football player. His history with us has shown us that he will bounce back and rise to the occasion. We have trust and confidence in him."

Wasn't that a Bears-designed play that the Rams executed on that special teams touchdown return Sunday against the Seahawks?

Zack
Atascadero, California

Yes, the Rams acknowledged that the trick punt return they turned into a 90-yard touchdown Sunday against the Seahawks is one they first saw the Bears run in a 2011 game against the Packers. (Unfortunately, the TD didn't count for the Bears due to a holding penalty against Corey Graham.) Here's how it works: The return man drifts to his left and pretends he's about to catch the punt. Most of his teammates set up to block for him, drawing the coverage team in the same direction. Meanwhile, one of the gunners on the other side of the field races back and catches the punt and dashes up the sideline. Johnny Knox raced 89 yards for a touchdown for (that was nullified) for the Bears, while the Rams' Stedman Bailey ran 90 yards for a TD. After the Bears did it against the Packers, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers said it was the best play he'd ever seen.

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