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What is Bears record on Thanksgiving?

Posted Nov 23, 2017

Senior writer Larry Mayer discusses how the Bears have fared all-time on Thanksgiving, Tarik Cohen bringing a kickoff out from five yards deep in the end zone against the Lions and the Bears record against the Eagles in Philadelphia.



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.

My memories of the Bears playing on Thanksgiving mostly involving losing to the Lions in the 1990s. What is the Bears’ overall record on Turkey Day?

David G.
Bolingbrook, Illinois

The Bears are 17-15-2 all-time on Thanksgiving. Their last appearance was in 2015 when they beat the Packers 17-13 at Lambeau Field. My personal favorite Thanksgiving game was in 1980 when the Bears stunned the Lions 23-17 in overtime. Vince Evans capped a 94-yard touchdown drive with a 4-yard TD run as time expired in regulation to tie the score 17-17 and Dave Williams followed by returning the overtime kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to win the game. (Here’s a link to a story I wrote about that memorable game.) The Bears first played on Thanksgiving in their first year of existence in 1920, beating the Chicago Tigers 6-0. Red Grange made his Bears debut on Thanksgiving in 1925, rushing for 36 yards in a 0-0 tie with the Chicago Cardinals at Wrigley Field, just five days after playing in his final college game for Illinois. 

I was surprised and disappointed to see Tarik Cohen bring a kickoff out from deep in the end zone late in last Sunday’s game against the Packers. Do the Bears have certain guidelines to follow in those situations?

Phillip K.
Matteson, Illinois

Special-teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers didn’t have a problem with Tarik Cohen’s decision to bring that kickoff out of the end zone. He caught it five yards deep and returned it 22 yards to the 17, a play that took :04 off the clock late in the game. Said Rodgers: “We have different yard marks that in certain games bringing it our five, six, deep [is OK] and in other games, ‘Hey, if it’s in the end zone, let’s not bring it out.’ Sometimes it depends on the return based on what we have called. If the ball is kicked in the end zone opposite of where we’d like it to be, where a play is not going to work as well as what we practiced [the returner should not bring it out]. That play was disappointing because we didn’t execute it. It had nothing to do with Tarik. There was some space on that play and we missed the block.”

Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains added that he, too, didn’t mind seeing Cohen come out of the end zone in that situation. Said Loggains: “If it was anyone else but Tarik, maybe. But every time that guy has the ball in his hands he has a chance to do something with it. So when it’s Tarik I love when he takes the ball out because we have so much faith when the ball is in his hand to make a play.”

I know that winning Sunday’s game will be difficult, but I think there’s a chance the Eagles could take the Bears a little too lightly. What is the Bears’ record all-time in Philadelphia?

Rich G.
Indiana

The Bears are 13-6-1 all-time against the Eagles in Philadelphia. That includes a 2-1 record at Lincoln Financial Field. The Bears rallied late behind Brian Griese to beat the Eagles 19-16 in 2007 and won again 30-24 in 2011 before getting blown out 54-11 in 2013.

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