Cubs

Bears' history on Thanksgiving Day

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Bears' history on Thanksgiving Day

Few things are better on Thanksgiving Day than turkey and time with family, but football may be one of them. From Turkey Bowls in the backyards and at local parks to the three NFL games each year, football has become part of the holiday.
And while the Bears have certainly left their mark on the history of the NFL, they also have done the same on Thanksgiving.
The Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys currently host games annually, but the Bears were actually the first team to do so. From 1922 to 1933, the Chicago Bears and Chicago Cardinals played annually, going 7-3-2 in that span. The 1932 game against the Cardinals marked the last time the Bears played a home game on the holiday.
But the Bears' annual turkey day game didn't end there, as they played the next five seasons against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day, going 2-3 in that span. All five games were played in Detroit.
The Bears didn't play again on Thanksgiving until 1947, when they went back to Detroit for a 34-14 win. Two years later, they won again in Detroit, 28-7.
The Bears first played Dallas in 1952, falling 27-23 against the Texans in a game played in Akron.
The Cowboys, then members of the AFL, began their annual series in 1966. The Bears did not play the Cowboys until 1981, a 10-9 loss in Dallas.
Walter Payton enjoyed success on his first Thanksgiving Day game, rushing for 137 yards and a touchdown along with 107 receiving yards and another score in a 31-14 win.
Chicago has dropped its last three Thanksgiving Day games, last winning in 1993 with a 10-6 win in Detroit. Its most recent game was a 21-7 loss in Dallas.
The franchise's largest Thanksgiving Day win came in 1928, with a 34-0 home win against the Cardinals. A year later, the Cardinals returned the favor with a 40-6 win.
The worst loss in Thanksgiving Day history was a 55-20 defeat at the hands of Barry Sanders and the Lions. The Bears held a 20-17 lead at halftime before 38 unanswered second-half points. Sanders ran 167 yards and three touchdowns.
Since 1920, the Bears' franchise has played 32 times on Thanksgiving, fourth most in history. Only the Lions (72), Cowboys (44) and Packers (34) have played more.
Here's a complete list of the Bears' Thanksgiving Day games, per Chicago Sports Memories:
1920: W, 6-0 at Chicago Tigers (Staleys)
1921: L, 7-6 vs. Buffalo All-Americans (Staleys)
1922: L, 6-0 at Cardinals
1923: W, 3-0 vs. Cardinals
1924: W, 21-0 at Cardinals
1925: T, 0-0 vs. Cardinals
1926: T, 0-0 vs. Cardinals
1927: L, 3-0 vs. Cardinals
1928: W, 34-0 vs. Cardinals
1929: L, 40-6 vs. Cardinals
1930: W, 6-0 vs. Cardinals
1931: W, 18-7 vs. Cardinals
1932: W, 24-0 vs. Cardinals
1933: W, 22-6 at Cardinals
1934: W, 19-16 at Lions
1935: L, 14-2 at Lions
1936: L, 13-7 at Lions
1937: W, 13-0 at Lions
1938: L, 14-7 at Lions
1947: W, 34-14 at Lions
1949: W, 28-7 at Lions
1952: L, 27-23 vs. Dallas Texans (in Akron, Ohio)
1964: W, 27-24 at Lions
1977: W, 31-14 at Lions
1979: L, 20-0 at Lions
1980: W, 23-17 (OT) at Lions
1981: L, 10-9 at Cowboys
1991: L, 16-6 at Lions
1993: W, 10-6 at Lions
1997: L, 55-20 at Lions
1999: L, 21-17 at Lions
2004: L, 21-7 at Cowboys

Cubs not yet considering ways to get Victor Caratini and Willson Contreras in lineup together

Cubs not yet considering ways to get Victor Caratini and Willson Contreras in lineup together

Offensive production is very much judged in a "what have you done for me lately" manner.

And by that measure, the Cubs offense is just fine and there's no need to tinker.

However, overall, this lineup has weaknesses, including second base (Cubs rank 21st in MLB with .675 OPS from their second basemen) and center field (19th in MLB with .698 OPS). Before the trade deadline hits, it seems apparent Theo Epstein's front office will add another hitter of some sort to augment this offense. 

But what if the Cubs had an in-house solution?

Victor Caratini had another big game Sunday — going 2-for-3 with a sacrifice fly RBI and his only out was a 109.1 mph liner to left field — and is now hitting .301 on the season with a .383 on-base percentage and .505 slugging percentage.

Caratini wasn't initially scheduled to be in the Cubs lineup Sunday, but with Willson Contreras nursing a sore foot, he got the call and continued to do what he's done all year — play very solid defense behind the plate with quality production at the dish. 

Between Caratini's emergence this season and Contreras' huge bounceback year, Cubs catchers are pacing baseball in OPS, average, OBP, SLG, runs and RBI and rank second in homers and hits.

So with Contreras' ability to play the outfield, will the Cubs try to find ways to get both Caratini and Contreras in the starting lineup at the same time in search of more consistent offense?

"We haven't talked about that," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said after Sunday's game. "We have a lot of guys who have to be in the lineup when things are rolling properly. I haven't looked at that right now, honestly."

Maddon conceded that as a switch-hitter, Caratini is still utilized almost exclusively as a left-handed hitter. The second-year player is hitting .556 with a homer and a double from the right side this season, but that's come in only 10 plate appearances.

Maddon also admitted the best way to get both catchers in the lineup at the same time is if there's an injury or a natural day off for a regular player. For example, Contreras played a game in right field in Pittsburgh before the All-Star Break while Caratini started behind the plate with both Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward nursing minor injuries.

Caratini has also drawn some starts at first base over the last couple years when Anthony Rizzo is either ailing or getting a day off. 

But beyond that, it doesn't appear as if we're gonna see Contreras and Caratini as cohorts in the starting lineup on even a semi-regular basis.

"Maybe part of the reason they're both playing so well or Victor's hitting as well as he is or playing as well as he is is based on the amount of usage," Maddon said. "Everybody sees a guy do well and all of a sudden, that immediately indicates he should play more often. Maybe just playing the right amount."

Robbie Gould will not be the solution to the Bears' kicking woes after all

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USA Today

Robbie Gould will not be the solution to the Bears' kicking woes after all

The dream plenty of you reading this is dead: Robbie Gould will not be coming back to the Bears. 

The placekicker reportedly inked a two-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers Monday morning, beating the NFL's deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign multi-year deals: 

That figure of $15 million guaranteed is the highest among contracts for active kickers, beating out the $12.5 million the Baltimore Ravens guaranteed Justin Tucker. The Bears guaranteed $9 million to Cody Parkey in their ill-fated four-year deal with him last year. 

Gould had refused to sign the franchise tag after the 49ers placed it on him earlier this year, holding out for the team to trade him so he could play closer to his family in the Chicagoland area. He didn't show up to any of the 49ers voluntary and mandatory workouts or practices during the spring, and there was speculation he could hold out well into training camp and perhaps even into the regular season in the hopes of forcing a trade. The Bears always seemed to make the most sense on the surface, though Ryan Pace's preference has been (and still is) to inexpensively find a solution to his team's kicking woes. Gould never represented that, as the hefty contract he and the 49ers agreed to indicates.