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Why did Bears opt to start game on offense? | Chalk Talk

Bears quarterback Justin Fields
Bears quarterback Justin Fields

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

I found it interesting that the Bears chose to receive the opening kickoff against the Packers instead of deferring to the second half after they won the coin toss. Is that the first time that's happened this year?
Paul G.
Morton Grove, Illinois

Yes, the Bears have won the coin toss seven times in 13 games this season and last Sunday marked the first time they've chosen to receive the opening kickoff and not deferred until the second half. Coach Matt Eberflus explained the decision after the game, saying: "We felt our offense has been humming pretty good and we wanted to give them a chance to go out there and score and it worked for us." Eberflus added that he told quarterback Justin Fields that's what he intended to do and "he was excited about it." The strategy paid off as Cairo Santos capped the opening drive with a 40-yard field goal. The Bears have now scored on their first possession in 10 games this year (two touchdowns and eight field goals), the most of any NFL team.

Are the Bears going to self-scout and make some adjustments during their bye week like they did during their mini-bye earlier in the season?
Edward S.

Yes, the Bears will evaluate their players and schemes this week and make the necessary changes when they reconvene this coming Monday at Halas Hall. Before players dispersed this past Monday, they were presented with things they need to improve. Here's how coach Matt Eberflus explained the process to reporters: "We're going to do a self-scout from New England all the way to now to see where we are personnel-wise, scheme-wise, what can we get better at. We did a few things with the players, two or three things that players can get better at so they can look at that on tape as they go about their business this week and come back to us next Monday." Here's hoping the Bears will be as successful as they were coming out of the mini-bye when they scored 33, 29, 32 and 30 points in their first four games after making some changes such as calling more designed quarterback runs for Justin Fields and more read-option plays and play-action passes.

I was wondering why before the half of the Packers game the Bears called a timeout. The Packers looked like they were going to settle for a field goal as time expired. After the timeout by the Bears, they went for it and scored a touchdown. Then on the ensuing kickoff the Bears took a knee and went into the locker room. I don't get it. Can you explain why they did this?
Bill S.
Crystal Lake, Illinois

The Bears used their third and final timeout of the first half with :23 to play and the Packers facing fourth-and-4 from the Chicago 14. Coach Matt Eberflus explained that he used the timeout "to force their hand and make them make a decision," adding that "it gives us another opportunity for our defense to get set up and what we want to call." I did not see any evidence that the Packers were planning to kick a field goal and not keep their offense on the field on fourth down. In fact, after the game, Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur said: "I thought we were going to have to score a lot of points at that point in the game." Like Eberflus said, the timeout gave the Bears a chance to switch up their defense. Unfortunately, the defense failed to generate any pressure on Aaron Rodgers and he calmly connected with Christian Watson for a 14-yard touchdown that cut the Bears' lead to 16-10. Said LaFleur: "Definitely they presented a different defense than what the call was intended for, but it was a great job by our guys blocking up front and Aaron extending the play and finding Christian, and he made a big-time catch."

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