That was how you put an exclamation point on a season.
The Chicago Bears had a chance to step on a division rivals throat and eliminate them from playoff contention and they did it. Even after having an opportunely to pull their starters with the Los Angeles Rams up big in their game, head coach Matt Nagy decided to keep his foot on the gas and end his inaugural season with twelve wins. After the Bears 24-10 victory, Nagy told Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun Times, “I love winning. I think it’s fun to win. When you win, whoever it is -- who cares? -- let’s just play ball. That’s what we’re going to do.”
Even with Nagy knowing his team was likely locked into the three seed, he kept most of his regulars in the game. His game plan wasn’t the same as he usually runs, but he adapted and his team pulled out a dominating win.
Chicago outgained the Vikings 332 yards to 164, they had more first downs (17 to 12), and they had the time of possession edge too, 37:08 22:52.
But it was on third downs and penalties where the biggest discrepancies were as the Bears converted 57% (8-14) to just 9% for Minnesota (1-11), and the refs flagged the Bears 11 times for 102 yards to only 3 for 30 for the Vikings.
Now let’s take a closer look at the playing time break downs for the Bears, and also a few of the individual stats.
It was another efficient game from Mitchell Trubiksy with just enough downfield shots to keep the defense honest. He ended the day 18 of 26 for 163 yards, for a 85.9 passer rating, and 16 yards rushing. He had no TDs or turnovers, but he did complete a pass to Nick Kwiatkoski for a two-point conversion.
Speaking of that 2-point conversion, is any team having more fun than the Bears?
Back up linebacker catching a 2-point conversions after a fake jet sweep to a starting corner.— Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. (@wiltfongjr) December 30, 2018
What is your team doing these days?
Trubisky’s pass protection held up nicely and he wasn’t (officially) sacked, and he was only hit once.
Jordan Howard was the game’s leading rusher with 109 yards on 21 carries. He scored twice and added a 5 yard reception. Tarik Cohen ran 5 times for 24 yards while scoring a TD, and he caught 2 balls for 8 yards, while taking 2 punts back for -2 yards.
Minnesota’s defense only had one tackle for loss and Chicago’s run game racked up 169 yards (4.6 ypc).
Taylor Gabriel had the Bears most receiving yards with 61 on 4 catches, and Trey Burton had the most receptions with 5 for 33 yards. Rookie Javon Wims caught all 4 passes thrown his was for 32 yards. Kevin White had a big 22 yard reception.
Leonard Floyd was the Bears leading tackler with 8 (1 TFL), while Roquan Smith ended up with 6, which means he fell 3 tackles shy of Brian Urlacher’s rookie record.
Akiem Hicks had 1.5 sacks, 3 tackles, and a TFL. Eddie Goldman had a sack (3 tackles, 2 QBH), as did Bilal Nichols (2 tackles, 3 QBH), and Roy Robertson-Harris had half a sack (1 tackle, 2 QBH).
The players listed above only appeared in the third phase.
Cody Parkey made his only field goal try, but he was 1 for 2 on extra points. I’m all for finding a new kicker, but unfortunately Parkey might be the best one out there.
Patrick O’Donnell punted 4 times for a 43.8 average while dropping 2 inside the 20 yard line.
Any of these numbers stand out to you guys this week?