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Chalk Talk

Why did Bears use picket-fence D?

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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 understand why Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio sometimes drops eight players back to the goal line. But why did he do it late in the first half Monday night in San Diego? The Chargers were on the edge of field-goal range and giving them an easy completion turned the kick into a chip shot.

David L.
Aurora, Illinois

The situation you're referring to occurred with the Chargers having the ball at the Bears' 23 with :11 left in the first half and no timeouts remaining. The defense dropped eight players to the goal line, allowing Philip Rivers to complete a 9-yard pass to Dontrelle Inman, setting up Josh Lambo's 31-yard field goal on the next play with :03 left in the half. Fangio explained Wednesday that the Chargers were already in field-goal range and wanted to keep them out of the end zone, saying: "In my opinion, they already had a very easy field goal. They had time for one play. If you're offense with no timeouts, where's the ball going? In the end zone. If it doesn't go in the end zone and stays in the field of play, halftime will come and they won't be able to kick. They're trying to get into the end zone, so we want our guys back there defending the touchdown. The 6, 7, 8, 9 yards or whatever they get at that point is inconsequential on the field goal at the stadium in perfect conditions. If the wind is blowing and the field is not great, maybe those nine yards may make a difference. But in my opinion it didn't. The mortal sin there would be to give up [a touchdown]."

All three Bears wins this year have come against the AFC West, coach John Fox's old division. How much do you attribute the wins to coach Fox's familiarity?

Pete
Val Rita, Ontario, Canada

I'm sure John Fox's familiarity with the Raiders, Chiefs and Chargers has helped a little bit in terms of personnel and game-planning, but I honestly don't think it's that big of a factor. That familiarity certainly didn't prevent the Bears from throwing a pick six, losing a fumble and giving up an easy touchdown to a wide-open receiver in the first half Monday night in San Diego. Most NFL games are decided by a handful of plays and the Bears stepped up and made those plays in crunch time to come back and beat the Chargers. I really don't think there's any more to it than that.

Is this the first time that Robbie Gould has ever missed three straight field goals? I think we've all been spoiled by his accuracy and dependability!

Michael K.
Rockford, Illinois

Robbie Gould certainly has been consistent throughout his entire career with the Bears. This is only the second time he's missed three straight field-goal attempts. The only other time was midway through the 2010 season when he missed a 54-yarder against the Seahawks, a 42-yarder versus the Bills and a 43-yarder against the Vikings. Monday night marked only the third time Gould missed two field-goal attempts in a game, not bad considering that he has appeared in 158 career contests

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