The Bears regular season is over and for the first time since 2010, that doesn’t mean the end of the season for all.
The postseason is next after the Bears finished with their most wins since the Super Bowl season of 2006. They also eliminated their division rival Minnesota Vikings from the playoffs with their 24-10 beatdown.
Since I’m running behind already let’s just get to it:
The running game dominates
While the final stats suggest the Bears’ attack was even-keeled (332 total yards, 163 passing, 169 rushing) it was the running game that really set the tone for the Bears.
Jordan Howard went over 100 yards for just the second time this season and first time since Dec. 9 against the Rams with a season-high 109 rushing yards and two scores.
Tarik Cohen added 24 yards on five carries and a score of his own. As a team the Bears averaged 4.6 yards per carry.
Mitch eases doubts
Overall his stats were very pedestrian (18/26 for 163 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT), he played mistake-free football and led four scoring drives and three touchdown drives.
The biggest drive arguably came in the third quarter, when the Bears took over at their own 25 yard line, up 13-10. They methodically drove down the field, ate up 9:05 of game clock and convert four third downs (another was converted by a Vikings defensive holding penalty).
Howard scored from three yards out and then the Bears ran another two-point conversion play with defenders on the field. This time it was Nick Kwiatkoski’s turn to convert a pass into two points to go up 21-10.
Why did they pay him again?
The Bears once again embarrassed the Vikings offense and $84 million man Kirk Cousins (20/33, 132 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 4 sacks). The Vikings managed 164 total yards and went 1 for 11 on third down (by comparison, the Bears were 8/14 and Minnesota was the No. 1 third down defense).
This was just the second game this season that the defense didn’t have a turnover and just the second without an interception since Week 8 against the Jets.
Receiver depth tested
Coming in without Allen Robinson, the Bears lost Anthony Miller to his nagging shoulder issue early in the first on a end around play. Then Taylor Gabriel was banged up and left the game in the second half.
Preseason favorite rookie Javon Wims caught all four of his targets for his first four catches of his career and 32 yards, including a couple key third downs. Kevin White, yes him, caught a nice 22-yard pass and had another target knocked away at the last minute.
Trey Burton caught 5 passes for 33 yards and Gabriel still paced the team with 4 catches and 61 yards, including a nearly-41 yard TD that was reviewed and set to a 40-yard down-at-the-one catch.
Defensive stand outs
Roy Robertson-Harris left the game with an injury late but register half a sack. Akiem Hicks had 1.5 sacks in the game and Bilal Nichols had one as well. Hicks and RRH each had two QBH as well.
Danny Trevathan was credited with two TFL. Roquan Smith had six tackles and Leonard Floyd ended with a team high 8 and added a TFL.
By eliminating the Vikings, for better or worse, the Bears must now face the surging defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles, who won 24-0 over Washington.
The Eagles lost Nick Foles to a chest injury, but it was already reported that he was expected to be all right.
Will the Bears choice to go for broke end up biting them? It remains to be seen. Foles was 28/33 for 221 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT before his injury.
Now, on to you: How do you feel about the match up with the Eagles? Do you wish the Bears had laid down for Minnesota?
What did you like about the game?