Bears defensive lineman Bilal Nichols won’t be suspended by the NFL for throwing a punch into Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen’s facemask Sunday night, a source said Monday. His punch is being handled through the NFL’s standard discipline process, which does not hand down suspensions. Nichols could be fined $36,148 for fighting, though.
While the Bears could discipline Nichols in-house, he figures to play Sunday against the 49ers.
When Nichols was ejected in the third quarter Sunday, he became the third Bears player in the last calendar year to be tossed for throwing a punch. Receiver Javon Wims was suspended for punching the Saints’ C.J. Gardner-Johnson in November but Anthony Miller was merely fined for punching the same man during a playoff game in January.
In all three cases, Matt Nagy said Bears players had been warned to avoid the opposing team’s instigators. Nonetheless, all three threw punches.
Yards per carry
Rookie running back Khalil Herbert’s 100-yard showing Sunday pushed him toward the top of the NFL’s rushing leaderboard. He’s now averaging 4.81 yards per carry, the 10th-most among running backs with at least 50 rushes this season.
His average is better than, among others, the Vikings’ Dalvin Cook, the Packers’ Aaron Jones and even the Titans’ Derrick Henry.
David Montgomery, who is eligible to return to practice this week after going on injured reserve with a knee sprain, ranks No. 24 at 4.48 yards per carry.
Herbert said Sunday night that it was hard to balance the personal success he had with a bad loss.
“It’s tough,” he said. “We want to go out there and get the win. I try to help out any way I can. It’s tough, we have to get on the film, watch and correct, and figure out what we have to do to correct and fix it. But it’s tough.”
Tidbits from the official snap count total:
• Trevis Gipson and rookie Sam Kamara played 54 and 29 snaps, respectively, with outside linebacker Robert Quinn out. Christian Jones added 15.
* Alex Bars wound up playing two-thirds of the Bears snaps at right tackle after replacing struggling emergency starter Lachavious Simmons.
• Tight end Jesper Horsted was on the field for one play: the failed fade pass the Bears threw his way in the end zone.
• Safety Teez Tabor’s snaps marked the first NFL action for the former Lions second-round pick since Dec. 30, 2018.