The Chicago Bears faced a huge early season game yesterday against the Minnesota Vikings, and they did so without a full complement of starters. They went into the contest missing five first-string players, and then six plays into the game they lost starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to a shoulder injury. None of that mattered however, as Chicago rolled to a 16 to 6 win against their division rival.
The Bears held the total yards advantage 269 to 222, and the time of possession edge 35:27 to 24:33, while the Vikings did slightly better on third down conversions going 5 for 13 (38%) to Chicago's 5 for 16 (31%). But the Bears went 2 for 3 on fourth downs with Minnesota converting 1 of 2.
If you were just looking at the box score, you’d come away thinking this was a close game, but anyone that watched all sixty minutes understood just how much the Bears dominated. Don’t get me wrong, this was a slobber-knocker featuring two outstanding defenses, but Chicago’s D is on another level, and Chicago’s offense just coasted to the win in the fourth quarter with a two score lead. In the final quarter the Bears called 13 running plays to only three pass plays and they were content to keep the clock moving.
But now let’s take a closer look at the playing time break downs for the Bears, and also some individual stats.
Trubisky barely broke a sweat by going 2 of 3 for 9 yards before injuring his shoulder, but the offense wasn’t really affected when Chase Daniel came into the game. Head coach Matt Nagy just kept it business as usual with his backup QB and Daniel ended up going 22 of 30 for 195 yards, 1 TD, and a passer rating of 101.4.
Running back David Montgomery had his biggest work load of his young career with 21 carries for 53 yards, and 3 receptions for 14 yards. It wasn’t the breakout game I was predicting for him, but he was used as a clock-killer in the fourth quarter with 11 runs for 22 yards.
Tarik Cohen has yet to breakout this year either as he had modest 11 yards on 5 runs, and 2 catches for 7 yards. Cohen did get a TD grab for his first score this year.
Allen Robinson II caught all 7 of the balls thrown his way for 77 yards including this beaut.
Javon Wims got the start for Taylor Gabriel and he caught 4 for 56 yards. Anthony Miller snagged 2 for 11 yards. I found it interesting that it was Wims had the most snaps of all the wide outs. Chicago seems content to have Miller work as the third receiver.
Chicago's tight ends were active with Adam Shaheen catching 2 for 13 yards, Trey Burton getting 2 fort 16, and J.P. Holtz getting 1 for 7. Holtz has seemingly passed Ben Braunecker on the depth chart, and my guess is it’s due to him being a better blocker.
With Kyle Long out with a hip injury, it was Ted Larsen stepping in, but Larsen left with an injury of his own and it was Rashaad Coward filling in for him. I thought both Larsen and Coward looked fine in the game.
Here are the snap counts on defense for the #Bears. They played a bunch of nickel again, and I thought they managed the reps well at ILB with Kwit and KLP in place of Roquan. pic.twitter.com/HF4gLjdEAW— Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. (@wiltfongjr) September 30, 2019
Inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski got the start in place of Roquan Smith and he led the Bears in tackles with 9. He also had a sack, a forced fumble, 2 tackles for loss, a special teams tackle, and he also did this.
Fellow backup Nick Williams had 7 tackles from his defensive line spot, but he added 2 sacks, a fumble recovery, and 3 tackles for loss too. But to continue the backup brigade, Roy Robertson-Harris had a sack and a half, 3 tackles, and a TFL.
Big picture, these three guys looked like this.
#Bears defensive backups Nick Kwiatkowski (ILB), Roy Robertson-Harris (DL), and Nick Williams (DL) combined for 19 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, 5 QB hits, a fumble recovery, and a forced fumble.— Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. (@wiltfongjr) September 30, 2019
Khalil Mack picked up 1.5 sacks to go along with another forced fumble, his 4th of the year.
Danny Trevathan had 9 tackles and Kevin Pierre-Louis had 4 to round out the good afternoon from the ILBs. I liked the way the Bears used Kwiatkowski (34 snaps) and KLP (25 snaps) in letting them each do what they’re best at.
At safety, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had 4 tackles and a fumble recovery and Eddie Jackson had 2 tackles. At corner it was Kyle Fuller with 6 tackles and a pass defensed, Prince Amukamara with 2 tackles, a PD and a FF, and Buster Skrine with 4 tackles.
Nose tackle Eddie Goldman had 2 tackles, and to round out the defensive line backups Abdullah Anderson and Jonathan Harris each had a tackle.
The Bears held the NFL’s leading rusher, Dalvin Cook, to 25 yards and 2.5 yards per run.
*The above image has players that only played in the third phase.
Patrick O’Donnell had another nice day punting the ball with a 48.2 average and 2 punts inside the 20, but he also took over kickoffs again with Eddy Pineiro still nursing that pinched nerve in his knee. O’Donnell booted all 4 kicks into the end zone for touch-backs and Pineiro nailed all three of his field goals and his lone extra point.
Sherrick McManis had 2 special teams tackles and Cordarrelle Patterson had one too.
Cohen had a 16 yard punt return.
All statistics and snap counts are taken directly from the NFL’s Game Statistic and Information System, as are the accompanying pictures.
To check out the full box score I find that ESPN has an easy to navigate site.