The Chicago Bears ensured that they would be the only NFC North team in the playoffs by ruthlessly throttling the Vikings 24-10. This win also proves that the Bears are a playoff-ready team.
The Chicago Bears made sure that Sunday was a bad day to be a Minnesota Vikings fan. The Vikings controlled their playoff destiny needing just a win with no help from another team. However, the Bears saw fit to dispose of Minnesota’s playoff hopes by delivering a 24-10 trouncing while leaving the starters in for most of the game, though the LA Rams‘ easy victory meant the Bears were unable to move up to the no. 2 seed in the NFC playoff picture.
I guess this yet again confirms that the Bears, not the Vikings, were the reason that their Week 11 matchup was flexed to Sunday night, contrary to Kirk Cousins‘s belief.
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The Bears dominated the Vikings in every aspect of the game, as the they out-gained the Vikings 332-164 (including 169-63 on the ground) and possessed the ball for 37 minutes. Third down efficiency was key to the Bears’ victory, as they went 8-14 on third downs, while the Vikings managed to go only 1-11.
On defense, the Monsters of the Midway sacked Cousins four times, hit him nine times, and recorded six tackles for loss. Though they top the Bears in total defense by NFL rankings, the Vikings’ defense failed to sack Mitchell Trubisky and only hit him once while recording only one tackle for loss.
Some have questioned whether it was worth it to risk injury to starters by leaving them in for the majority of the second half, since it was apparent early on that the Rams were likely going to beat the 49ers. Bears head coach Matt Nagy seemed to think so:
The mark of a true football guy. As Herm Edwards once said — “You play to win the game!”
Finishing off a 9-1 stretch with a win to end the regular season can only help the confidence of this young Bears team, particularly Trubisky. While 18-26 for 163 yards with no touchdowns and no turnovers is efficient but average, Trubisky made plays when the Bears most needed him to. He converted six of the Bears’ eight third down conversions through the air and ran for another.
The ability to go to Minnesota and dominate the Vikings in a playoff-like atmosphere proves that this Bears team is playoff-ready. Sunday’s game was essentially a home playoff game for the Vikings, so the Bears’ win proved that they can win a big game in a hostile environment. Many have questioned this season if the Bears can play well on the road; Sunday’s game answered that question with an emphatic yes.
The Bears will host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday for their first playoff game since 2010. If they win that game, the Bears will have to play the Los Angeles Rams on the road, and possibly the Saints on the road after that. Their win in Minnesota proves that they are ready for the test.