My cousin Danny hosted the family at his house in Evergreen Park for Sunday’s Bears fiasco in London.  A couple hours after the special teams and Chase Daniel slobbed away a decent comeback against a lackluster Raiders team, I made a fumble of my own.

Before we get to that, kudos to Dan on the spread.  The first course featured potato salad, wedge salad w/ bacon and avocado, pasta salad and the centerpiece – chicken wings grilled to by Dan’s brother (and the guy who was 100% right about Jose Abreu ) Mike (in the Walter Payton jersey, earning additional style points)

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Mike credits the charcoal for the proper smoky taste.  Add on Danny’s hot sauce, if you please.  Turns out Danny’s secret sauce is just Frank’s Red Hot + butter – but I’m easily impressed.

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We had three TV stations with various entertainment choices: Bears in the front room; Bears in the basement & Bears in the garage/outdoor bar area.  Plenty of options.  Our Boston cousin Conor succumbed to following the Patriots on his phone.  (He called it an exhibition game anyway – which against the winless Redskins it pretty much was for Tom Brady & co.)  But the Bears were in a battle.  First half was a garbage fest on both offense & defense.  Missed tackles, awful play-calling and bungled execution.  “The Miller Lite was cold.” – the only good thing that could be said about the first half.

Bears got their shit together in the 3rd quarter and started making plays.  Sherrick McManis even brought out the Peanut Punch on a crucial goal line stand.  With Peanut Tillman in attendance:

Victory was in hand.  Special teams got called on a running into the kicker penalty; then let Oakland get the 1st down on a fake punt.  Weak.  They marched down the field and scored, but with 2 minutes left on the clock.  The Bears had plenty of time to tie it up with a field goal.  Chase Daniel threw a losers interception – just tossed it up into 3 defenders on 2nd down with a boatload of time left.  It sucked.  Bears lose 24-21.  Jon Gruden was mocking the Bears organization after the game.  That’s rock bottom.

“At least the brisket tacos were on their game.” – me trying to look on the bright side.  Danny’s brisket tacos were just what my Sunday called for.  Flavorful with topping options, including some pico de gallo with a hot kick.  He also made salmon, tilapia & shrimp for anyone in seafood taco mood.

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That reminds me – my fumble story:  I dropped the brisket as I tried to pull the leftovers out of the oven with one hand.  I know better: You don’t one-hand brisket.  Two hands and keep your eyes on the pan.  Fundamentals.  I’m like Kyle Fuller trying to arm tackle a Raider receiver short of the sticks.  The meat didn’t fall, but brisket juice ran everywhere.  Into the oven, down the side of the oven and under the oven.  Danny’s wife Dana saw me struggle to sop it all up with paper towels and took charge, luckily.  She was very kind and forgiving of my dipshittery and cleaned up my mess.  I’ll say it again: 2 hands on the brisket.

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Despite the drop, I was still allowed a full to-go plate. I covered the bases with brisket, shrimp & wings.  Hammered that down for Sunday night dinner while watching Succession on HBO.

Bonus fun:  Danny lives behind the Evergreen Park softball field, so hopped the fence to take a few swings at the 16-inch.

Pictured: My cousin Tom pitching to his girlfriend Hannah.

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Nicely maintained high school field.  Glad we could take full advantage of what could be the last sunny Sunday.