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.
Which player do you think has been the most pleasant surprise for the Bears this season?
To me, the “most pleasant surprise” is the player who exceeds expectations by the greatest margin. For that reason I would select rookie receiver Darnell Mooney, who has produced from Day 1—without the benefit of offseason practices or preseason games. I’m not sure anyone expected a fifth-round draft pick to make such an immediate impact and perform so consistently well. Mooney has caught 33 passes for 351 yards and two touchdowns. Cornerback Jaylon Johnson has made a similar impact on defense, but he was a second-round pick who was projected as a likely starter as soon as he was drafted. Second behind Mooney on my list would be kicker Cairo Santos, who has made 17-of-19 field goals this season, including his last 14 straight. That includes a 38-yard game-winner against the Buccaneers and a 55-yard bomb in a victory over the Panthers.
I know it’s been a down year for the Bears as a team, but I think there are several players worthy of Pro Bowl consideration, especially on defense. Who do you think has a legitimate chance to be selected?
Oak Park, Illinois
I agree with you, Paul. There are several players who deserve strong Pro Bowl consideration. My group would include Allen Robinson II on offense; Cordarrelle Patterson and Cairo Santos on special teams; and Akiem Hicks, Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith, Danny Trevathan, Eddie Jackson and Kyle Fuller on defense. I really think you could make a legitimate case for all of them. We have to remember, however, that there will be a lot fewer players selected this year because the actual Pro Bowl game was cancelled due to COVID-19, so no players will be backing out because they’re injured or playing in the Super Bowl. Fans can vote for the Pro Bowl by clicking here.
Cordarrelle Patterson may have set the Bears record for longest kickoff return, but didn’t Nathan Vasher set a record for longest return with a 108-yard missed field-goal attempt?
Yes, while Cordarrelle Patterson’s 104-yard touchdown Monday night against the Vikings was the longest kickoff return in Bears history, it’s the third longest play. As you mentioned, Nathan Vasher returned a missed field goal 108 yards for a touchdown Nov. 13, 2005 in a win over the 49ers at Soldier Field. Then almost exactly a year to the day later, Devin Hester matched his teammate’s feat by bringing back a missed field goal 108 yards for a TD Nov. 12, 2006 in a road victory over the Giants. Check out our photo gallery of the 10 longest plays in Bears history by clicking here.
Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.