August 6, 2021

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First ever Chicago Bears night game on West Coast?

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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 questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

When was the last time the Bears opened the season with a night game on the West Coast? I don’t recall them ever doing that.
Robert W.
Wheaton, Illinois

With the Bears kicking off the 2021 season by visiting the Rams in Los Angeles on Sunday Night Football Sept. 12, this year marks the first time they will open a season with a prime-time game on the West Coast. This year’s contest will be the Bears’ third season opener on the West Coast since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, but the two previous games in San Francisco in 2003 and San Diego in 2007 were both played in the afternoon.

Does the running back the Bears drafted (Khalil Herbert) have a good chance to make the team this year? I really liked his highlight videos.
Allan B.
Kewanee, Illinois

I don’t know that I would bet the mortgage on sixth-round pick Khalil Herbert earning a spot on the 53-man roster, but that’s only because the Bears are seemingly stacked at the running back position with veterans David Montgomery, Damien Williams and Tarik Cohen as well as Artavis Pierce and Ryan Nall. But I believe that Herbert will get plenty of opportunities to prove himself in the preseason this summer, something that wasn’t possible for rookies last year because of COVID-19 wiping out the entire slate of exhibition games. I know the Bears love his traits—general manager Ryan Pace described Herbert as “explosive, fast and versatile” after the draft. He also excelled as a kickoff returner last season at Virginia Tech, averaging 26.9 yards on 16 returns. With that in mind, his clearest path to earning a roster spot with the Bears could be as a special-teams contributor.

Who do you think had the best rookie season in Bears history?
Don S.
Sacramento, California

I don’t think there’s any doubt that it was running back Gale Sayers in 1965. The Kansas Comet was named NFL rookie of the year after setting an NFL record with 22 touchdowns. Sayers tied a league mark with six TDs in a 61-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers Dec. 12, 1965 at muddy Wrigley Field, an outing that Bears Hall of Fame owner and coach George Halas described as “the greatest performance ever by one man on a football field.”

Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.

https://www.chicagobears.com/news/chalktalk/chalk-talk-first-ever-night-opener-west-rams-week-1-2021-sunday-night-football