3 and out: Breaking down the Bears’ 25-20 win over the Vikings
Breaking down the Bears’ 25-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night at Soldier Field.
THREE MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
1. After last week’s disaster for Cody Parkey, the Bears embattled kicker redeemed himself by nailing a 48-yard field goal to put the Bears up two scores with 2:48 remaining. Parkey also connected from 33-yards out on the Bears first drive of the game.
2. Rarely a week goes by that we don’t mention Khalil Mack here. The Bears star linebacker was all over the field again, but we’ll go with his forced fumble in the first quarter as the highlight. The Vikings were threatening in the red zone until Mack promptly ended their drive.
3. The Vikings had life, down 14-6, after forcing a punt midway through the fourth quarter. And then Cousins threw an ill-advised pass that S Eddie Jackson returned 27 yards for a touchdown to put the game out of reach.
THREE THINGS THAT WORKED
1. Keeping the Vikings honest. Fully aware of the Vikings’ defensive speed, the Bears schemed to keep the Vikings indecisive. Matt Nagy went up-tempo and constantly used motion to force Vikings linebackers into making difficult coverage choices.
2. Stopping the run. We’re still not sure why the Vikings wanted to use RB Latavius Murray in tough down-and-distance situations. With that being said, the Bears shut down the Vikings’ ground game no matter the distance, starting with a stop on third-and-inches on the game’s opening drive.
3. Quality play from the linebackers. We don’t want to overlook Akiem Hicks, who was fantastic up front, but the Bears linebackers played a terrific game. Mack was a one-man wrecking crew, Leonard Floyd was flying around the field, and both Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan were great in the middle.
THREE THINGS THAT DIDN’T
1. Protecting the football. Vikings S Anthony Harris picked off Mitch Trubisky twice. The second might have been a mix-up between Trubisky and WR Allen Robinson, but the first pick was a decision Trubisky will want to have back. RB Tarik Cohen also had a costly fumble in the second half.
2. Keeping offensive momentum. The Bears scored only three points on offense in the second half. The defense did enough to keep the Bears ahead, but Nagy’s playcalling has to be better if the Bears are going to be a factor in January.
3. Finding an explosive play. The chunk plays that we’ve become accustomed to from the Bears offense went missing Sunday. WR Anthony Miller’s 18-yard touchdown in the second quarter was the Bears longest passing play of the game.
The Bears have a quick turnaround with a trip to take on the Lions in Detroit on Thursday. The Bears are 17-15-2 all-time on Thanksgiving.