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Chalk Talk: Will Ridley help fill void?

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

With Taylor Gabriel ruled out of Thursday's game in Detroit, do you think that rookie Riley Ridley will be called upon to help fill the void?
Wayne B.
Cedar Falls, Iowa

That's difficult to say, Wayne. When Taylor Gabriel missed two games earlier in the season, Riley Ridley dressed and did not play against the Vikings and then was inactive versus the Raiders. Javon Wims helped pick up the slack in a 16-6 win over Minnesota, catching four passes for 56 yards, while Anthony Miller had four receptions for 52 yards in a 24-21 loss to the Raiders. It may still be difficult for Ridley to get on the field given that he still has four healthy receivers ahead of him in Allen Robinson, Miller, Cordarrelle Patterson and Wims. When asked about Ridley Tuesday when Gabriel's status for the game was still unknown, coach Matt Nagy was complimentary but declined to reveal whether the fourth-round pick would play against the Lions. Said Nagy: "Where I've seen him grow the most is with patience. It's hard; these kids come from these big programs that are successful, the big fish in the small pond and it kind of flips on them. But he's been a true pro. He's trying to learn every day after practice. He takes advice. Very patient. I know it's killing him, because he wants to be out there. With Taylor here up in the air, we'll see what kind of chance this gives Riley."

I don't recall the Bears ever playing a Thanksgiving game at home. They always seem to be in Detroit or Dallas. Has that ever happened?
Ed S.
Cicero, Illinois

The Bears have in fact played 10 of 35 Thanksgiving games at home, but all 10 came during a 13-season span from 1921-33. The Bears went 6-1-2 against the rival Chicago Cardinals and 0-1 versus the Buffalo All-Americans, with all of the contests played at Wrigley Field. The most noteworthy of the bunch came in 1925 when superstar Red Grange made his NFL debut with the Bears, rushing for 36 yards in a 0-0 tie with the Cardinals just five days after he had played his final game at the University of Illinois. The Bears have played their last 21 Thanksgiving games on the road, with 17 contests against the Detroit Lions, two versus the Dallas Cowboys and one apiece against the Dallas Texas and Green Bay Packers. The Bears are 18-15-2 overall on Thanksgiving.

I noticed that the Bears have scored 188 points and allowed 188 points after their win over the Giants. Have they ever finished a season having scored and allowed the same number of points?
Ryan K.
Duluth, Minnesota

In their first 99 NFL seasons, the Bears never scored the exact same number of points that they allowed. The closest they've come was in 1977 when they scored 255 points and permitted 253. They had been outscored 244-243 entering the final game of the season, but they beat the Giants 12-9 in overtime on a Bob Thomas field goal to earn their first playoff berth since 1963. The Bears finished 9-5 in 1977, but they won games by 1, 1, 3 and 3 points while losing one contest 47-0 to the Houston Oilers.

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