That was fun!
There was a lot of trash talk from Vikings’ fans this week about Sunday’s game. Obviously, it was an important one for the Vikings, who needed to win to get into the playoffs. The Bears also had something to play for. With a win and Rams’ loss, they would have clinched the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
Unfortunately, the Rams handled the 49ers easily, but the Bears were able to officially eliminate the Vikings from the playoffs. They won 24-10 in Minnesota to finish the regular season with a 12-4 record.
The Bears will host the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles next Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field. The Loop Sports will have in-depth coverage heading into Sunday’s first home playoff game for the Bears since 2010.
For now, here are my four takeaways from Sunday’s big win in Minnesota.
1. Special Regular Season
After the Khalil Mack trade, there were talks of the Bears sneaking into the playoffs with a 10-6 or 9-7 record. No one and I mean no one saw 12-4 coming. Hell, the last time the Bears won at least 12 games in a season they went to the Super Bowl.
In 2018, the Bears eliminated every team in the NFC North. No really, think about it.
-Beat the Lions twice in the span of 11 days.
-Beat the Packers at home to clinch the NFC North title and eliminate Green Bay from playoff contention.
-Beat Vikings on road to eliminate them from playoff contention.
The Bears were really the kings of the north this season. There only division lost came week one against the Packers. That loss still hurts, but not nearly as bad after the regular season the Bears had.
For me, Sunday’s win was huge. I hate to keep referencing it, but the last time the Bears let a division opponent sneak into the playoffs on the last day of the season it came back to haunt them. Something about playing a division opponent for the third time in a single season didn’t sit right with me either.
No matter what happens in the playoffs, Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy deserve a ton of credit for turning around a franchise that is hungry for a winner.
Bring on the Eagles.
Anthony Miller and Taylor Gabriel left Sunday’s game with injuries. Miller reaggravated a shoulder injury, while Gabriel seemed to injure his ribs on an acrobatic catch he made that set up Jordan Howard‘s second TD of the game.
After the game, Nagy said he believed both players will be fine going forward, meaning they should be ready to go Sunday afternoon for the wild card round.
No, Robinson, no Gabriel, no Miller, no problem – the Bears were still able to move the football and beat the Vikings on the road. If that isn’t impressive, I don’t know what is. Depth is something good teams in the NFL have. Clearly, the Bears have depth.
3. Trubisky Came Up Big When It Mattered Most
Trubisky played another turnover-free game on Sunday in a hostile environment on the road. Over his last three games, Trubisky has completed 76% of his passes for 644 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions.
If the second year quarterback can player turnover-free football in the postseason, then the Bears may just be headed to Atlanta.
Against the Vikings, Trubisky made several big throws without his top three WRs. The Bears were 8-14 on third downs, while the Vikings were 1-11. That ended up being one of the biggest storylines in the Bears’ win.
Say what you want about Trubisky, but over the last three games he has shown up and made big throws when it has mattered most.
4. Defense Hot Heading Into Postseason
How about that the Bears’ defense?
On offense, the Vikings had 164 total yards. Kirk Cousins, the 84 million dollar man, had just 132 yards passing. The Bears once again proved that they have the best defense in the NFL. The only thing the talented unit didn’t do on Sunday was create a turnover.
Since the Giants’ game, the Bears defense has played great football. It’s coming at the right time as well. With an inconsistent offense at times, the Bears will have to rely on their defense in the postseason.
Defense travels, which is another thing many people found out on Sunday. Eddie Jackson and Aaron Lynch should be back Sunday, which will give the Bears’ defense even more confidence against the Eagles.
Follow Nick on Twitter
Credit: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune.