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Chalk Talk


Why was Bears pick changed to TD?


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

I'm very confused about what is and what isn't a catch in the NFL. I thought I had some idea until Sunday when the officials changed a Bears interception into a Lions touchdown. Can you please explain why that call was made?

Ray T.
Freeport, Illinois

You're not the only one who's confused, Ray. There are NFL players, coaches and broadcasters who are having trouble determining exactly what constitutes a catch. The play Sunday that was initially ruled a Bears interception was reversed to a touchdown because referee Walt Coleman determined that Lions receiver Golden Tate had possession of the ball with both feet down in the end zone and "had become a runner." Coleman also stated that Tate was standing upright so he didn't have to complete the process of the catch. In my opinion, I felt that Kyle Fuller stripped the ball from Tate before the receiver became a runner and also knocked him to the ground, which seemingly would require Tate to complete the process of catching the ball. On the television broadcast, both officiating analyst Mike Pereira and color analyst Ronde Barber both said they thought the interception should stand. With experts believing that the ruling on the field should stand, I'm not sure how the referee could say that there was "indisputable visual evidence" in reversing the call.

Click here to watch the play and hear Pereira and Barber give their opinions.

The Bears needed one first down to ice Sunday's game and Jay Cutler was on fire. Why did they run the ball three times into the line and give the ball back to the Lions?

James G.
Tokyo, Japan

The Bears led 31-27 when they took over at their own 19-yard line with 2:42 left in Sunday's game in Detroit. As you mentioned, the Bears handed off three straight times to Kyle Long, who picked up 5, 1 and 1 yards. The Bears ran those plays because they wanted the Lions to burn all three of their timeouts and were confident they could pick up the first down on the ground after Forte gained five yards on first down. With the Lions needing a touchdown and not a field goal, the Bears also had faith in both punter Pat O'Donnell and their defense not allowing Detroit to drive the length of the field. O'Donnell got off a decent 40-yard punt. But the defense gave up big plays on Detroit's first two snaps as Theo Riddick turned a short pass into a 34-yard gain and receiver Lance Moore hauled in a 26-yard pass to the Chicago 6.

When was the last time the Bears scored 34 points or more in a game?

Alan P.
Wheeling, Illinois

The Bears scored at least 34 points for the first time since Dec. 15, 2013 when they beat the Browns 38-31 in Cleveland. The Bears failed to top 30 points all of last season, topping out at 28 twice, in a 28-21 win over the 49ers and a 41-28 loss to the Cowboys. Sunday marked the first time the Bears scored at least 34 points and lost since Oct. 20, 2013 when they were edged by the Redskins 45-41 in Washington.

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