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Chalk Talk

Do strong finishes impact next year?

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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.

I'm curious whether a strong finish to a season carries over to the next year. How have the Bears fared when closing the previous season by winning their last few games?

Roger T.
Oak Lawn, Illinois

There really hasn't been much if any carryover from one season to the next. Since 1990, the Bears have finished five seasons by winning at least their final two games. (They won their last two in 1995, 2007, 2009 and 2012 and their final four in 2001.) The only time they ever made the playoffs the following year was in 2010 when they won the NFC North with an 11-5 record. They also finished with a winning 9-7 mark in 2008, but failed to earn a playoff berth. The other three times they closed one season with a winning streak they followed with marks of 7-9 in 1996, 4-12 in 2002 and 8-8 in 2013.

I was reading the recent "Chalk Talk" question about committing an intentional penalty on the Hail Mary against the Buccaneers to ensure there would be only one untimed down remaining, which would have eliminated the onside kick. But I don't think that would matter because unless I'm mistaken the kicking team cannot advance a recovered onside kick.

Tadd B.
Flower Mound, Texas

You are exactly right; the kicking team can recover an onside kick but cannot advance it. When the Buccaneers attempted an onside kick trailing 26-21 with :01 left, the only way they would have been able to score a touchdown is if they had recovered a deep kickoff in the end zone or returned a fumble on a kickoff return for a touchdown.

Do you think the Bears might sign Broncos pass rusher Von Miller in free agency? Everyone who has played for John Fox (as Miller did in Denver) seems to like playing for him.

Ross P.
Wheeling, Illinois

Von Miller would be a tremendous addition to any team, and while I'm sure he enjoyed playing for John Fox in Denver, I would be shocked if Miller even makes it to the open market given his value to the Broncos and the salary cap space they likely will have this offseason. I could be wrong, but I think the Bears will have to look to upgrade their defense elsewhere.

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