This was a game the Chicago Bears needed to win to move into the 7th seed in the NFC playoff picture, and to their credit, they fought through some inconsistent first half play to come out and explode for 21 unanswered third quarter points. It wasn’t the prettiest of starts against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but a 41 to 17 final score is all that matters.
They still have some work to do in week 17, but to be able to control their own playoff destiny is what every team strives for. The Bears will make the playoffs with either a win next week against the Packers or with a Cardinals loss to the Rams.
Against the Jags, the Chicago offense had 391 yards while their defense held Jacksonville to 279. The Bears also had the edge in first downs (28 to 14), third down efficiency (50% to 42%), time of possession (33:00 to 27:00), and they were penalized far fewer times than the Jags were (4 for 40 yards to 10 for 115).
Now let’s take a closer look at the playing time break downs for the Bears and also some individual stats.
This week’s game plan wasn’t as reliant on the outside zone/bootleg offense as previous weeks, partly because the Jaguars did a nice job game planning against it. Jacksonville was ready for it on the backside and they didn’t give Mitchell Trubisky open field to boot.
Mitch ended his day by going 24 of 35 (68.6%), for 265 yards, 2 touchdown passes, 1 interception, for a passer rating of 97.9. He had a rushing TD too on 2 runs for 10 yards. But for the second consecutive week he was forced to answer questions about a red zone pick.
“I knew right away I made a bad decision,” he said. “Trying to do too much.”
Knowing, as they say, is half the battle, and in that situation Mitch has to throw it away and keep his team in position to at least get three points.
But overall it was another nice game from Trubisky. He played within the offense, he usually took what the defense gave him, and he won from the pocket at times, which is something he still needs to prove he can do consistently.
David Montgomery had another fine day running the ball, and like a good teammate, he gave all the praise to his blocking. “The guys up front are doing a hell of a job,” he said. “I appreciate those guys.” Montgomery also went on to praise the blocking from his tight ends and wide outs too. Against the Jags, he had 23 attempts for 95 yards and a TD, and he caught both balls thrown his way for 26 yards.
Wide out Allen Robinson II led the Bears in receiving with 10 receptions for 103 yards. Tight end Jimmy Graham had 4 grabs for 69 yards with 2 TDs.
Rookie running back Artavis Pierce had 2 runs for 26 yards and the first TD of his career.
Montgomery is now at 1,001 rushing yards the season, Robinson is at an even 100 catches this year, and Graham’s 8 TD receptions is the most by a Bears tight end since Greg Olsen had 8 in 2009.
Roquan Smith led the Bears with 8 tackles, and he also got his first interception this year (plus his 2nd) and his first fumble recovery (but it was on his own fumble).
Danny Trevathan had 4 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 passes defended.
Rookie corner Kindle Vildor had 6 tackles while Duke Shelley had 3. Last week it was Shelley that had more snaps between the two of these young corners, but this week it was Vildor that stayed on the field most of the game.
*The above image has players that only played in the third phase.
The Bears need to get Cairo Santos a new deal this offseason. He was perfect again on both field goals and all 5 extra points.
Patrick O’Donnell punted 3 times for a 44.3 average with 1 punt placed inside the 20.
DeAndre Carter returned 3 punts for 25 yards and Cordarrelle Patterson had a kick return for 22.
To check out the full Bears vs Jaguars box score I find that ESPN has an easy to navigate site.
All statistics and snap counts are taken directly from the NFL’s Game Statistic and Information System, as are the accompanying pictures.