Studs and duds from Bears’ 33-27 victory against the Vikings
Week 15 was a dummy playoff game for the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings. If both teams start a week 6-7, the loser sees that his future playoff chances are as good as gone.
When the dust settled, the Bears emerged victorious with a 33:27 win, climbed back to 500, and held up their hopes for a post-season berth. Here are the studs and boys from the Sunday game.
STUD: RB David Montgomery
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It took a long time, but the offense was eventually sparked by David Montgomery running back. The result? 32 carries for 146 yards, a catch for 16 yards and two touchdowns. He was the catalyst for the team's victory and has continued his strong stretch lately. He has now played three games with 100 or more rushing yards in his last four. Montgomery found open holes thanks to its offensive line that held up well against the Viking defenses, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
DUD: DC Chuck Pagano
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It just can't be easy for the bears, can it? While the offensive scored more than 30 points in the third game in a row, the defense again tried to take out an average opponent. The Vikings could move the ball against the bears in many different ways. Quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 271 yards and two points, Dalvin Cook returned a total of 132 yards on the ground (his first 100-yard game against the Bears), and wide receiver Justin Jefferson surpassed 100 receiving yards. Fortunately, despite multiple opportunities, the Vikings were unable to celebrate a comeback thanks to questionable coaching decisions. But fans can't be comfortable with their talented defense being taken apart over and over again. Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano needs better action against opposing crimes to give this team a chance in the postseason.
STUD: DL Bilal Nichols
AP Photo / David Berding
Good things always happen for Bilal Nichols. The third-year professional continued his strong season on Sunday with a total of seven tackles, one sack and three quarterback hits. He was a force in the middle of the line and could even hunt down cousins when he tried to sneak a quarterback. Whether it's defending the run or rushing the passer-by, Nichols has been on fire lately and could earn a fine payday for his success on the field in the off-season.
DUD: WR Javon Wims
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While the Bears hadn't relied on passing as much as they had in previous games, wide receiver Javon Wims still didn't do well. The receiver saw a significant drop on a third and three at the end of the first quarter. The bears were just outside the Redzone and Trubisky had been perfect up to that point. With downward pressure, the quarterback threw Wims up, but the ball fell from his hands and fell incompletely, stalling a promising ride. Wims was no longer targeted in-game.
STUD: K Cairo Santos
AP Photo / Jim Mone
Do you remember Eddy Pineiro? Most bear fans may forget that he should be the team's kicker this season as Kairo Santos has automatically acted on field goals and extra points. The experienced kicker went 4/4 that day and made 21 attempts on the field in a row, the last of which came from 42 meters to give the bears a six point lead. Santos has achieved over 92% of his field goals this year.
DUD: Cordarrelle Patterson
AP Photo / David Berding
With Montgomery doing the bulk of the broadcast on Sunday, the walking back and back specialist Cordarrelle Patterson wasn't actually part of the running game. After Patterson got his first carry at the start of the game, he never saw a handover. He was also targeted only once in the four-yard passing game. Although he continued to serve as a kickoff returner, Patterson wasn't a factor at all on the offensive.
STUD: QB Mitchell Trubisky
AP Photo / David Berding
Though he didn't have any flashy numbers, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky carried out the offensive as best he could, with just a throw or two that he'd like to have back. Trubisky completed 15 of 21 passes for 202 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He kept the games alive with his feet, ran when the bag broke, but also kept his eyes down. Aside from the interception in the end zone, he had another great day of his own. Things seem to be clicking for him and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. The bears will need him to continue his strong game for every post-season shot.
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