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1 day ago Discussion: What are the biggest ‘what ifs’ in Chicago Bears’ history?
Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images Share with us your biggest “what ifs” in Chicago Bears history. I did not appreciate the game of Johnny Knox during his brief time with the Chicago Bears. Sure, he was a speedster who could take the top of a defense, as evidenced by his 4.34 forty at the Combine. He was also an outstanding kick returner, making the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2009. I was a fan during his short three-year career, but I did not realize until a conversation with one of my oldest friends that Knox, had it not been for that devastating injury, was on pace to break Chicago’s all-time record for receiving yards. Question of the day: What are the biggest “what ifs” in Bears’ history? If Gale Sayers was never injured... If the double-doink went in... If Johnny Lujak never retired... If Charles Martin wasn’t a (censored)... There are plenty of ‘what ifs’ in Bears’ history, but if Johnny Knox remained healthy, then Rome Odunze and DJ Moore would be chasing Knox’s records. Johnny Morris is the Bears’ all-time receiving yardage leader with 5,059, and his 356 receptions, while most for a Chicago receiver, trail running backs Matt Forte (487) and Walter Payton (492). In his three years, Knox had 133 catches for 2,214 yards in 45 games, which averages out to 3.0 receptions per game and 49.2 yards per game. His best season was in 2010, when he led the team in receiving yards (960) and tied for the team lead in receptions (510) and receiving touchdowns (5). Knox suffered one of the worst football injuries imaginable on December 18, 2011, in what was their 14th game that season. However, he still led the team in receiving yards (727) and tied for second with 37 catches. Morris, who played in a much different era (1958-1967), averaged 2.9 catches and 41.8 receiving yards per game. So, Knox had Morris’ numbers well within his sights. If Knox were healthy and had just hit his career per-game averages, that would have meant 48 receptions for 787 yards a year, so he would have passed Morris’ yards mark during his seventh year after turning 29 years old. And he would have passed Morris’ team mark for catches by a wide receiver the next seaosn. But Knox was an ascending player capable of putting up better than those average stats, and I think his best was yet to come. It still would have been fairly pedestrian records compared to the other 31 teams around the league, but at least it wouldn’t have been a 50-year mark that players were chasing. What are some other Bears’ “what ifs” that come to mind? Here are a few of Knox’s highlights as a reminder of how explosive he was. Let's hit some of my favorite Johnny Knox plays, as they come to me.Rookie year: 102-yard kick return TD against the Lions. Knox made the Pro Bowl this year as a returner. Blazing speed. Look at Urlacher's reaction. pic.twitter.com/IfsrNGuSE3— Jack M Silverstein (@readjack) December 21, 2020 Favorite Johnny Knox plays:Knox's first NFL catch in his first NFL game, a 68-yard burner past Charles Woodson, the 5th completion of Jay Cutler's Bears career.https://t.co/NlWzq79dIc pic.twitter.com/pP7qJbpW7w— Jack M Silverstein (@readjack) December 21, 2020 Favorite Johnny Knox plays:Knox's 1st NFL touchdown, week 2 of his rookie year. I absolutely LOVED this throw by Jay. Off his backfoot, guys in his face, wrist-flip to Knox, who in just two games made this offense feel so different, independent of Jay.https://t.co/akcv0OzkJe pic.twitter.com/3mWLHfrvwp— Jack M Silverstein (@readjack) December 21, 2020 Favorite Johnny Knox plays:This 59-yarder against the Cowboys in 2010. I just loved this one. Straight jets, and Cutty dropped it in the basket.Seriously, look at the SPEEEEEED on this Bears offense: Knox Hester OlsenWith Jay slinging it. pic.twitter.com/LSyakmvYI0— Jack M Silverstein (@readjack) December 21, 2020 Favorite Johnny Knox plays:The entire 3rd quarter of the Jets game, 2010.The Knox-Hester partnership was MAGIC. Holy moly those guys were good. In the game that clinched a bye, their 3rd quarter:Hester: 2 rec., 34 yds, TD, 38-yard PR, 40-yard KRKnox: 3 rec., 79 yds, 2 TD pic.twitter.com/vDkugLEciW— Jack M Silverstein (@readjack) December 21, 2020 Favorite Bears-Packers memories: the legendary fake punt return.2011. I don't care that it didn't count. This fake punt return from Devin Hester and Johnny Knox, drawn up by Dave Toub, was a testament to all three.s/o @iamvega1982 @WCGridiron: https://t.co/7Xhr32UGLa pic.twitter.com/6gB4j0Oodq— Jack M Silverstein (@readjack) September 9, 2018 Favorite Johnny Knox plays:The block!Knox's rookie year, he gives fellow rookie Kahlil Bell an extra 30 yards on Bell's first career NFL carry by flying down the field for some of the greatest downfield blocking I've ever seen.s/o @Jmack37 pic.twitter.com/q8Dwbe8vZK— Jack M Silverstein (@readjack) December 21, 2020 Favorite Johnny Knox plays:81 yards from Caleb Hanie.During one of the most depressing stretches of Chicago Bears football of my life, one that in a way started and ended with Knox, #13 put on a show with this deep catch and run from Caleb Hanie.Thank you Johnny. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/KKetlwsqvU— Jack M Silverstein (@readjack) December 21, 2020
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2 days ago This New Mexican Restaurant Celebrates The World of Masa and Teases Italian Beef Tamales
Santa Masa is now open on the North Side. | Eater The husband-and-wife team of Danny Espinoza and Jhonna Ruiz revive Santa Masa Tamaleria Danny Espinoza and Jhoana Ruiz are back with a new tamale shop that “embraces everything masa” on the Northwest Side near Dunning. The couple have worked together at various Mexican restaurants, from Loba Rey in South Loop to briefly in 2020 with their small tamale operation, Santa Mesa Tamaleria. Folks might remember that Santa Mesa, a pandemic pivot, served tamales stuffed with Italian beef before The Bear brought attention to the sandwich on a national scale. But the pandemic and parenthood brought changes for the two and new jobs. The couple moved to the suburbs. However, Ruiz wasn’t satisfied in her corporate role. She says she yearned to mentor young folks, which her husband had been doing at schools in the suburbs. “It’s the biggest part of cooking, it’s being in the kitchen… showing, teaching people, and being around — just pretty much like touching food,” Ruiz says. “You know, I feel like that’s how you make a connection.” And that desire brought the two to revive Santa Masa, expanding from merely a takeout restaurant: “I’m ready to do this and I’m ready to really push for myself more than ever,” Ruiz adds. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Danny Espinoza (@dannythecook) Santa Masa is open in the morning for breakfast, including burritos, chilaquiles, and tortas. Ruiz has a pastry chef background and offers a dish often compared to French toast, capirotada — seared bread pudding with caramelized bananas, pepita crumble, and salted caramel. The menu is in Spanish with English translations underneath. Offerings include red and green chicken tamales. Queso options for vegetarians. An option focusing on masa for vegans. Ruiz is partial to the fresa, a sweet version: “You can have it as a savory you can have it as dessert. I like that.” A tamale of the month will allow seasonal specials and collaborations; one of the specials will be Italian beef. Espinoza mentions other sweet tamales including the canario which is made with pineapple. The menu features more than tamales. Huarreches, including one made with carne asada and frijoles, and enchiladas. There will be a variety of tacos, including one with green chorizo from another of Espinoza’s endeavors, Santo Chorizo. They’ll sell pozole on the weekends, as is custom. Espinoza, who’s cooked with celebrity chef Carlos Gaytan at Michelin-starred Mexique in West Town and Cantina Laredo in River North, talked about how the restaurant’s North Side location gave them a better chance to impact the Mexican community; they’re not beholden to high downtown rents and can focus on other aspects of the business: “Good food is good food, right?” Espinoza says. “People search for it, they will look for it.” The two feel a strong responsibility within their Mexican American community. Part of that is education. When asked about the reasoning behind using the word “tamale” versus “tamal” — something that can produce heated debate — Espinoza chuckles. The bigger battle is to figure out how more people can “unwrap delicious.” However, he did clarify: “I tell people: no one’s gonna eat one — we’re gonna eat tamales.” Santa Masa Tamaleria, 7544 W. Addison Street, (312) 982-9306, open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday through Sunday and Monday.

Sunday Specials in Chicago

3200 N. Halsted, Chicago IL, 60657
$10 Long Island Iced Tea pitchers
$8-$10 Beer pitchers
500 West Madison Street, Chicago IL, 60661
$2 Domestic drafts
$3 Import drafts
Bloody mary bar from 10:30am - 3:00pm
1551 North Sheffield Avenue, Chicago IL, 60622
$10 buckets of Bud, Bud Light, and Bud Select
$3 Well drinks
$.25 wings

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