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.
I know that the Bears plan to play Justin Fields in the last two games to get more experience, but knowing that he’s your future, would you risk it knowing the possibility of injury?
West Peoria, Illinois
I can understand both sides of the debate, Jim, but the bottom line to me is that while Justin Fields has blossomed into an impact player, especially as a runner, he’s far from a finished product and can use all the game experience he can get , especially against two division opponents. I would play him 100 percent in these final two games of the season and continue to call plays that keep him out of harm’s way and limit the number of big hits he’s likely to take. I think it’s especially valuable for him to continue to develop rhythm and timing in the passing game and play in an atmosphere like the one the Bears will encounter Sunday in Detroit against the Lions, who are fighting for their playoff lives.
How many times have the Bears played on New Year’s Day?
Santa Monica, California
Sunday will mark only the fifth time that the Bears have played on New Year’s Day. Interestingly, the previous four times were all road games against the Vikings. The first was Jan. 1, 1995, and it was a wildcard playoff contest that the Bears won 35-18. The other three were regular season contests, with the Bears losing Jan 1, 2006 (34-10) and winning Jan 1, 2012 (17-13) and Jan 1, 2017 (38-10).
How close are the Bears to setting a record for most rushing yards in a season?
Barrington Hills, Illinois
The Bears entered Week 17 with 2,696 yards rushing, which is the seventh most in franchise history. If my math is correct, they need 279 yards on the ground in their final two games to eclipse the team record of 2,974 yards set in 1984. That team broke a Bears record that had stood for 50 years; the 1934 squad rushed for 2,847 yards, led by Beattie Feathers, who became the first NFL player to top 1,000 yards in a season with 1,004 yards.