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Chicago Bears notes: A penalty for using a towel, rookie standouts — and what happened to the Bear Raid siren?

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Chicago Bears Notes: A Penalty For Using A Towel, Rookie Standouts — And What Happened To The Bear Raid Siren?
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Officials called the penalty on rookie punter/holder Trenton Gill, but kicker Cairo Santos took the blame.

With the Chicago Bears setting up for a 47-yard field-goal attempt that would have given them their first points in the second quarter Sunday, Santos wanted to use Gill’s towel to pat down the grass where he was going to kick.

Santos didn’t know he was doing anything wrong when he stepped on the towel, and neither did Gill as he squatted to pat it. But officials issued a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Gill, pushing the Bears out of field-goal range. They went into halftime scoreless but went on to beat the San Francisco 49ers 19-10 at Soldier Field.

“I honestly didn’t think I was doing anything wrong,” Santos said. “Now I know not to use that. It wasn’t to dry (the field) because it was raining. I didn’t expect it was going to dry the field. It was just to flatten the spot, and I didn’t want to do it with my foot in the water because I was just about to kick the ball.

“So I just did it with my hand and got called. So I just want to take responsibility. Trenton didn’t know.”

Referee Clay Martin told a pool reporter that Gill or Santos could have used the towel to wipe their hands but not alter the field.

“You cannot bring what we consider a foreign object — this was not a towel that would go on a uniform — out to alter the playing surface,” Martin said. “We felt that provided an unfair advantage, using the towel to wipe down the area where the ball was going to be placed.”

Santos, who missed two of three extra-point attempts in the second half, said he cleared snow from the field last year in Seattle, but he’s not sure if he used his hand or a towel.

Gill said he now knows to avoid such a mistake in the future.

“I’d never done it before, but I never played in a game where it’s been rain the whole time, a couple of inches on the field,” Gill said. “You saw at the end, there was about 2 inches of water on the field.”

Something different in the air

When the 49ers lined up for a third-and-2 play in the first quarter, Soldier Field sounded a bit different than it has in recent years.

The air-raid siren that was played on key defensive plays since 2018 was absent.

A Bears official said it wasn’t one person’s decision to ditch the siren, which became known as the Bear Raid siren. It was part of a slate of game-day operations changes the Bears implemented in 2022. The team also didn’t play it during the lone home preseason game.

The Bears debuted the siren in December 2018 during a 15-6 win over the Los Angeles Rams in which quarterback Jared Goff threw four interceptions. They kept it going the next week while clinching the NFC North title against the Green Bay Packers, and it became a staple.

The team even played it in 2020 when fans weren’t allowed at games in Chicago.

But on Sunday the Bears relied on music, other stadium noises and old-fashioned crowd noise to cheer on the defense as it held the 49ers to only a second-half field goal.

A fast start

In his studies leading up to his first regular-season NFL game, Bears rookie pass rusher Dominique Robinson noticed a tendency from 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey.

“On film, he oversets,” Robinson said.

So how was it Robinson recorded his first career sack in the first quarter, a 6-yard takedown of Trey Lance?

“He overset and I took him,” Robinson said. “I hit him with a swipe and then got to the QB.”

Once there, Robinson had to hold on tightly to Lance in suboptimal conditions, making sure to fling him to the grass before his grip slipped.

“He’s elusive,” Robinson said. “Once I got a hand on him, I was thankful for the gloves I was wearing. I was able to latch on and kind of just wring him around until he went down.”

Robinson had 1½ sacks, splitting another backfield tackle of Lance with Roquan Smith. That was part of an afternoon in which the Bears rookie class contributed in significant ways.

Safety Jaquan Brisker recovered a fumble on the 49ers’ opening drive. Cornerback Kyler Gordon shook off a 44-yard reception he allowed to Jauan Jennings and finished with six tackles, including a stop on Jennings for a 2-yard loss.

Left tackle Braxton Jones allowed a first-quarter sack to standout 49ers pass rusher Nick Bosa but seemed to hold up OK overall.

Brisker was asked what he made of the Class of 2022′s encouraging debut.

“We’re just letting people know how skilled we are,” he said. “And we’re just going to keep getting better. This is just the first game. We’re going to keep building, getting better and doing everything we can to do things right for this team.”

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Nearing a return, Twins outfielder Trevor Larnach suffers setback with wrist

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Nearing A Return, Twins Outfielder Trevor Larnach Suffers Setback With Wrist
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Nearly three months after having a bilateral repair to address a core muscle injury, outfielder Trevor Larnach was on the verge of returning to the Twins — possibly even this weekend. He felt great, he said, and he was excited to get back to try to help an injury-depleted Twins’ roster.

And then, another setback, the latest twist to a frustrating season for Larnach. This one appears as if it will end his season, though the Twins have not yet made that announcement. During a rehab game with the Triple-A Saints this week, Larnach took a swing and felt something with his wrist.

“The next day, I couldn’t hold a bat,” he said. “Ever since then, it’s been rehab again, so as frustrating as it is, there’s not much I can do about it.”

Larnach, 25, played five rehab games for the Saints, the last coming on Sept. 21, before he was shut down. He was in the Twins’ clubhouse on Sunday morning, though not because an activation is near, manager Rocco Baldelli said.

“He’s here more to get looked at, spend a little time around the guys, too, but mainly to get seen by the medical guys,” Baldelli said.

Larnach has played in just 51 games this season for the Twins after being recalled from Triple-A, where he started the season, in early April. Larnach dealt with a groin strain in May before landing on the IL again in late June. He hit .231 with a .712 OPS, but he spent most of the season mired in the rehab process down at the Twins’ complex in Fort Myers, Fla.

While outside doctors initially gave him an optimistic outlook of six weeks to heal after his core muscle surgery, he quickly came to realize that he would need more time than that to recover after his late-June surgery.

“You learn really quick that that’s not really even reasonable, especially for a professional athlete trying to play at their highest level,” Larnach said. “It wasn’t really relevant to me. I had to take a step back to look at what I needed to do to feel really good. I did that, and I learned a lot from it.”

The rehab process, he said, had him working constantly, with the Twins’ training staff, at home on his own and with specialists as he tried to get back. Should he be healthy enough, Larnach said he has given some thought to the possibility of playing winter ball to make up for some of the playing time he missed this season.

“Trust me: I wasn’t there for a vacation. I was there to try and be healthy as soon as possible. I learned from it,” Larnach said. “I felt great coming back. I thought I did a really, really good job going through that whole process. But then this thing was just kind of really, really unexpected.”

LEWIS UPDATE

Royce Lewis, another big piece of the Twins’ future, was in the clubhouse over the weekend, reuniting with his teammates and writing hand-written thank-you notes to those who had helped him this season.

The 23-year-old shortstop has been rehabbing in Fort Myers after undergoing a second surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament in June. At this point, he hasn’t been doing much activity, though he said he’s in a stage where he’s slowly starting to transition to add in more. Lewis plans to stay in Fort Myers through October before heading home to continue his rehab.

Lewis missed all of last season after tearing his ACL before spring training. After a year-long rehab process, Lewis returned healthy and performed well both at Triple-A and his brief taste of the majors —  he slashed .300/.317/.550 with a .867 OPS in 12 games with the Twins — before reinjuring his knee during a collision with the outfield wall.

“Obviously (the) same injury, but totally different. The procedure was different. Everything about it feels different,” Lewis said. “I feel a lot better than I did before. I don’t know why that is, but I’ll take it.”

BRIEFLY

The Twins played a video tribute to Kurt Suzuki, who is set to retire after this season. Suzuki played for the Twins for three seasons between 2014-16. The 38-year-old catcher has played for the Angels the past two seasons.

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Rihanna will headline the Super Bowl halftime show

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Rihanna Will Headline The Super Bowl Halftime Show
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Rihanna will be the “Only Girl” at the Super Bowl halftime show.

The “Umbrella” singer announced her new gig Sunday, sharing a photo on social media of a hand holding a football in the air that was then retweeted by the NFL and Roc Nation, which has a long-term deal with the NFL to “advise” on the halftime show performer.

With week 3 of the NFL underway, Super Bowl 2023 is still almost five months out but the headlining gig was already cause for rampant rumor-mongering.

Taylor Swift, who has a new album due out in October, was the talk of the town late last week, but reportedly passed until she rerecords all of her albums to get out from under the control of former manager Scooter Braun.

The “Shut Up and Drive” singer was previously offered the stage at the 2020 championship, but turned down the job in support of Colin Kaepernick.

“I just couldn’t be a sellout, I couldn’t be an enabler,” she told Vogue in October 2019. “There’s things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”

Super Bowl LVII is scheduled to be played on Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

Last year’s show was headlined by Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent at SoFi Stadium.

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Week 3 updates: Boos out at Soldier Field as Chicago Bears trail Houston Texans — and they could be without RB David Montgomery

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Week 3 Updates: Boos Out At Soldier Field As Chicago Bears Trail Houston Texans — And They Could Be Without Rb David Montgomery
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The 1-1 Chicago Bears will host the 0-1-1 Houston Texans at Soldier Field in a Week 3 matchup. Here’s the latest updates.

Get our free Bears alerts | Get Brad Biggs’ 10 thoughts on the Bears first | More Bears news

At halftime

As the clock ran out in the second quarter with the Texans leading the Bears 14-13 some boos could be heard across Soldier Field.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields completed just 4 of 11 passes for 45 yards, no touchdowns, an interception and an 11.6 passer rating in the half, which ended with the Texans’ third sack as time ran out. The Bears had timeouts to use but didn’t to try to get in a deep shot.

Playing without David Montgomery, who left in the first quarter with right knee and ankle injuries, running back Khalil Herbert rushed for 64 yards and rookie Trestan Ebner rushed for 23 yards. Fields also had 47 yards rushing.

The Bears were threatening to retake the lead late in the second quarter but couldn’t come up with a big play.

On third-and-5, Fields hit tight end Cole Kmet with a 24-yard pass — Kmet’s first catch of the year — to get to the Texans’ 27-yard line. But the Bears offense stalled three plays later when Jerry Hughes sacked Fields for a loss of 9 yards. Bears kicker Cairo Santos made a 50-yard field instead to cut it 14-13.

Santos made a 47-yard field goal on the game’s opening drive for a 3-0 lead. And Herbert scored on an 11-yard touchdown run after Montgomery left the game to make it 10-0.

But Davis Mills’ 4-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Akins cut the Bears’ lead to 10-7. That drive included a 52-yard pass to Chris Moore.

And the Texans took a 14-10 lead on Dameon Pierce’s 1-yard touchdown run with 7:32 to play in the second quarter. Pierce had four carries for 41 yards on the drive, which started with Desmond King’s 30-yard punt return.

Bears safety Eddie Jackson forced a fumble and had an interception in the first quarter.

The Texans recovered the fumble, but the pick came at a key moment. With the Texans threatening to take a lead at the Bears’ 7-yard line, cornerback Kindle Vildor broke up Davis Mills’ pass to Brandin Cooks in the end zone. Jackson grabbed it out of the air but stepped out of the back of the end zone. The Bears got the ball on their 20.

Jackson’s pick came after Fields threw a pass to Kmet that Texans safety Jalen Pitre intercepted.

Injury update

David Montgomery went down with a right leg injury midway through the first quarter. After the trainers tended to him for a few minutes, he walked off the field on his own into the medical tent. He then left the tent to go to the locker room.

The Bears announced Montgomery has a knee and ankle injury and is doubtful to return. Wide receiver Byron Pringle also is doubtful to return because of a calf injury.

Running back Khalil Herbert entered the game after Montgomery left and had carries of 8 and 11 yards and then scored on an 11-yard touchdown run to put the Bears up 10-0 midway through the first quarter.

Week 3 inactives announced

Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson will miss Sunday’s game against the Texans with a quad injury he suffered in practice Thursday.

But linebacker Roquan Smith, who missed practice all week with a hip injury, will play.

Linebacker Matt Adams, safety Dane Cruikshank and rookie wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. all are inactive with hamstring injuries. Tight end Ryan Griffin will sit out with an Achilles injury, and offensive lineman Ja’Tyre Carter also is inactive.

Johnson’s absence is big for a young Bears secondary. Opposing teams largely have stayed away from targeting Johnson, instead going after rookie Kyler Gordon, who moves between outside cornerback and nickel, and Kindle Vildor. Gordon had a rough night against Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Week 2.

For the Texans, tight end Brevin Jordan, wide receiver Tyler Johnson, defensive back Isaac Yiadom, linebacker Jake Hansen, offensive lineman Austin Deculus and defensive lineman Kurt Hinish are inactive.

Soldier Field guide — and a weather report

There’s a slight chance of rain in Sunday’s forecast, but nowhere near the amount of precipitation fans endured in the Week 1 win over the 49ers (so, no Slip ‘N Slide celebrations this time around). The expected high is set for 69 degrees, with wind of the WNW at 19 mph.

Chicago experiences higher temperatures longer than outlying suburbs due to the heat-island effect. Its location next to Lake Michigan’s warm waters explains why the city and nearby suburbs freeze later in the year than their farther-out counterparts.

Locally, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting temperatures leaning above normal and “equal chances” of above or below precipitation from October through December.

If you’re headed to Soldier Field, here’s our guide — including where (and what) to tailgate. And no, you won’t be hearing the Bear Raid siren this year.

OC defends the Bears’ run-pass balance

The comparisons were all over social media this week.

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields has 28 pass attempts in two games this season. Every other team in the league has at least 28 completions and 52 attempts.

The Bears’ measly passing-game numbers, which total 15 completions and 191 yards, have dominated talk, with coach Matt Eberflus saying the Bears need to strive for a better balance in the running and passing games.

Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy understands it: “I love to throw because I’m a quarterback guy, right?”

And surely Getsy knows Fields needs to throw to develop in his second season. But Getsy also believes in following a plan tailored to what a defense is presenting them. Read the full story here.

Latest stadium news from Arlington Heights

Arlington Heights officials rejected a petition to ban village financial incentives for Chicago Bears or any other business, stating that the petition didn’t have enough valid signatures — and warning that such a move would hurt businesses and taxpayers.

The petition calls for the village to create an “Anti-Corporate Welfare Ordinance” that would prohibit any financial or other incentive to a business to operate in the village. The petition was submitted by Americans for Prosperity Illinois, part of a libertarian group backed by the conservative Koch brothers. Read the full story here and read all our coverage here.

Miss anything this week? Catch up on our coverage.

  • 5 things to watch in the Bears-Texans game — plus our Week 3 predictions
  • Column: Patience is required to evaluate QB Justin Fields — especially with the Bears offense around him
  • Bears QB Justin Fields says ‘my job is not to call pass plays’ after attempting only 11 passes in a lopsided loss
  • 12 eye-catching numbers as the Bears prepare to face the Texans
  • Column: Justin Fields apologized to Bears fans. It was mature and sincere — but also unnecessary.
  • Bears Q&A with Brad Biggs: Do the coaches doubt Justin Fields as a passer? What is with Kyler Gordon’s rookie struggles?

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Three shot in St. Paul Saturday night at large gathering on White Bear Avenue

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Three Shot In St. Paul Saturday Night At Large Gathering On White Bear Avenue
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St. Paul police are investigating a shooting Saturday night in which three people were shot at a strip mall where a large group of people were gathered, several of them reportedly under the influence or inebriated.

None of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, police say.

About 11:30 p.m. officers were called to the 1600 block of White Bear Avenue on a report of a man shot. When the arrived they found two additional shooting victims, according to police Sgt. Mike Ernster.

All three had gunshot wounds in their lower extremities, such as their legs and buttocks, and were taken to the hospital, Ernster said.

A fourth man was treated for a laceration to his head. It wasn’t clear whether the cut came from a fight or a fall from the confusion when the shooting started, Ernster said.

The location of the shooting was at a strip mall that holds an event center where more than 300 people can gather. It was unclear what type of event, if any, was being held, Ernster said, but a large number of people were at the location when police arrived. Officers said some of those they encountered were under the influence or inebriated.

As of Sunday the shootings were still under investigation.

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Tua Tagovailoa exits Dolphins-Bills game after late hit, is questionable to return

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Tua Tagovailoa Exits Dolphins-Bills Game After Late Hit, Is Questionable To Return
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Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa left the team’s game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday after a late hit that resulted in a roughing-the-passer penalty deep into the first half.

Tagovailoa escaped pressure on a third-and-3 play right before the two-minute warning, threw a pass that was completed to wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, and was pushed to the ground after the throw by linebacker Matt Milano. The back of Tagovailoa’s head banged against the ground in a whiplash effect.

Tagovailoa was walked off the field and into the locker room, under his own power, with trainers alongside him. He is officially questionable to return with a head injury.

The Dolphins have a quick turnaround for Thursday Night Football, facing the Bengals on the road in Cincinnati and Tagovailoa’s availability for that game could be in doubt.

The Dolphins and Bills were tied at 14 at the time of the injury and going into halftime. Tagovailoa was 8 of 10 for 76 yards with a touchdown pass when he exited. Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater then entered for Miami’s third-year signal-caller.

It’s the third consecutive time Tagovailoa gets hurt in a meeting with the Bills. In last year’s Week 2 meeting in Miami Gardens, an A.J. Epenesa hit sidelined Tagovailoa with fractured ribs and put him on short-term injured reserve to miss the ensuing three weeks. In the 2021 Oct. 31 game in Orchard Park, Tagovailoa finished the game but came away with a finger injury on his throwing hand that cost him the next one and a half games.

The Bills struck first on their opening drive Sunday that was capped by a fourth-down 1-yard pass from Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen to an open Devin Singletary in the end zone. Allen was 6 of 6 for 70 yards on the opening series after his first completion, a 28-yard strike over the middle to Stefon Diggs, was nearly a fumble lost with Diggs losing the back. It was ruled that cornerback Xavien Howard barely contacted the receiver.

The Dolphins defense set the offense up to tie later in the first quarter. Jevon Holland broke free on a safety blitz for a strip-sack on Allen, and outside linebacker Melvin Ingram recovered the fumble at the Buffalo 6-yard line. Miami scored on a Chase Edmonds plunge from a yard away after a pass to Trent Sherfield got the team to the 1-yard line.

Buffalo responded early in the second quarter with Allen again finding another South Florida product, Isaiah McKenzie, wide open for a short touchdown pass. The Bills picked up the Dolphins blitz on third-and-goal from the 8-yard line, with Singletary blocking Holland in the backfield.

Tagovailoa responded with a nine-play, 83-yard drive yard that was capped by a touchdown pass to practice-squad elevation River Cracraft, his second touchdown in as many weeks up from the practice squad. Tagovailoa threw a dart to Cracraft for the 11-yard scoring strike after also completing chunk plays to Waddle and Tyreek Hill earlier in the drive.

This story will be updated.

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Ravens LT Patrick Mekari, OLB Justin Houston, DT Michael Pierce exit game vs. Patriots as injury woes continue

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Ravens Lt Patrick Mekari, Olb Justin Houston, Dt Michael Pierce Exit Game Vs. Patriots As Injury Woes Continue
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Ravens left tackle Patrick Mekari (ankle), outside linebacker Justin Houston (groin) and defensive tackle Michael Pierce (left arm) suffered injuries during the first half of Sunday’s Week 3 matchup against the New England Patriots, continuing a worrying trend after last season’s injury-marred season.

Mekari suffered a left ankle injury during the first quarter, further depleting an already banged-up offensive line.

Baltimore was facing a third-and-5 with 9:42 on the clock when Mekari stepped on running back Justice Hill’s foot while blocking a New England defender. Mekari punched the field in frustration before being taken to the medical tent and was later carted to the locker room with his shoe and sock removed form his left leg.

Mekari, who signed a three-year extension Dec. 30 and has served as a versatile piece of the offensive line since joining Baltimore as an undrafted free agent in 2019, is questionable to return Sunday.

With Mekari out, the Ravens are down to their fourth-string left tackle. Ronnie Stanley is still working his way back from an ankle injury, while Ja’Wuan James suffered a season-ending torn Achilles tendon in Baltimore’s season opener against the New York Jets.

Rookie Daniel Faalele, who did not play a single snap at left tackle at Minnesota, replaced Mekari and allowed a sack during the Ravens’ 11-play, 69-yard scoring drive that ended with quarterback Lamar Jackson throwing a 5-yard touchdown pass to Mark Andrews with 4:14 left.

Early in the second quarter, the Ravens announced that Houston was questionable to return with a groin injury. The Ravens are also thin at outside linebacker, as Steven Means suffered a season-ending torn Achilles tendon last week and Tyus Bowser and rookie David Ojabo are recovering from the same injury. Brandon Copeland, who was signed to the practice squad on Wednesday and elevated for Sunday’s game, replaced Houston.

Pierce, who signed a three-year deal with the Ravens in the offseason, suffered an apparent left arm injury after trying to tackle Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson with 7:38 left in the second quarter. Pierce walked to the sideline under his own power while grabbing his left arm and was eventually carted off into the locker room. He is questionable to return.

This story will be updated.

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