These are my four takeaways from last night’s 25-20 Bears victory over the Vikings.
Honorable Mention: Cody Parkey is back
And he’s won the full support of the fanbase in the process. Dream night for number one.
1. The Bears have the best defense in football
Not one of the best. Not top five. The best. And nobody’s really all that close right now either.
The vaunted Bears’ defense proved as much last night when they tormented Minnesota every step of the way. They allowed absolutely nothing in the run game, clogging up any possible holes for Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray.
As did Akiem Hicks, and there will be more on that later.
And in proving how far they had come since week one, the secondary made plays when it mattered most. Eddie Jackson read a corner route beautifully, broke on the ball, picked it off, and sauntered into the end zone after a couple key blocks. No defensive unit is playing at a higher level than these guys are right now, and it’s good enough to keep the Bears in the game against any team.
2. Second best? The guys on the other side wearing purple and white
And it’s why I’m not concerned at all with the play of the offense or Mitchell Trubisky. I would argue that the Vikings are the second best defense in football and they’re certainly better than anyone remaining on Chicago’s schedule.
The Bears did very well to game plan for them, running a few jet sweeps and end-arounds in either direction to get Minnesota’s ends wary of going too far upfield. Trubisky was sharp in the first half as well, tucking and running when necessary because the downfield coverage from the Vikings was top notch.
In the second half, Minnesota figured out the Bears’ tricks in the run game and were able to fluster Trubisky into more mistakes than he’d like, but he was able to come through in the end, hitting a clutch third-and-eight to Allen Robinson and helping seal the victory.
3. We’re well past Akiem Hicks is a pro bowler. Akiem Hicks is a First Team All-Pro
For the third straight season, Hicks terrorized the Vikings at Soldier Field in prime time. His is a name that Minnesotans know all too well by now, and it’s high time the rest of the league’s following started to catch on.
Hicks completely wrecked the game tonight; there are no two ways about it. He came through for five (!!!) tackles for loss including a sack of Kirk Cousins where he broke into the backfield untouched and ate the signal caller for a late night snack. Hicks also added a pass deflection on the Vikings’ final two-point conversion.
Hicks and Mack make the Bears’ front so difficult to defend. Putting extra guys on Mack means leaving Hicks one-on-one, and vice versa, and generally either one will kill you if you don’t commit more than a single blocker. Mack is the favorite for Defensive Player of the Year right now, but Hicks should be top-ten or fifteen.
4. Next week is not a gimme
In give or take 80 hours, the Bears will take on the Lions in Detroit, a team who they smashed like a bug last week.
Don’t let that fool you, because this is a matchup that screams “trap game.”
Matt Nagy is going to have to bring his guys down from their emotional high and get them focused on Detroit quickly, because they’re on a short week and facing a Lions team that will be looking for revenge. They can’t look back to last night and they can’t look ahead to another pivotal Sunday night tilt that’s coming up very soon.
The Bears need to take care of business on Thanksgiving. Doing so will all but lock them into a playoff birth and possibly a division title.
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