With the Arizona Cardinals in position to take home the final NFC wild-card spot, these two teams were playing for their postseason lives in Week 15. And it was the Chicago Bears who prevailed, edging out the Minnesota Vikings, 33-27.
The Bears close the season with an away matchup against Jacksonville and a home bout with Green Bay.
Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.
STORY OF THE GAME
Across the past three weeks, Mitchell Trubisky is averaging 8.4 yards per attempt with a 112.7 passer rating. The caveat, of course, is that those games came against the NFL’s 30th-(Detroit), 32nd- (Houston) and 19th-ranked (Minnesota) passing defenses. Still, Trubisky did some good things in this game against a better Vikings defense than the first two teams on that list.
His accuracy was a concern early in the year, but he completed 71.4% of his passes against Minnesota, with his attempts traveling 8.9 yards downfield on average. Trubisky’s performance wasn’t without its faults, but it’s one that the Bears will gladly take after what they’ve dealt with at the quarterback position for much of the season.
Trubisky wasn’t asked to drop back and pass a ton, and that was because of David Montgomery‘s success on the ground. Montgomery forced eight missed tackles on the ground pending review, and nine of his season-high 30 carries on the ground went for first downs or touchdowns. He went toe to toe with one of the league’s best backs — Dalvin Cook.
Defensively, Chicago was able to get to Kirk Cousins with pressure. Bilal Nichols, Akiem Hicks and Robert Quinn were all credited with four or more pressures on initial count. Chicago getting that kind of pass-rushing production from players not named Khalil Mack was needed given some of the injuries the team is dealing with on the back end.
This wasn’t Justin Jefferson‘s flashiest stat line this season, but that speaks more to just how great he’s been overall. Three of his five receptions in the game went for 15 or more yards, and he’s now averaging 16.6 yards per reception on the year.
Darnell Mooney found the endzone on the other side for Chicago, and Cole Kmet once again operated as the TE1 for the Bears with 20 routes run compared to Jimmy Graham’s 10. Unfortunately, Kmet turned those routes into just two receptions for 12 yards.
Ezra Cleveland started his seventh game of the season at right guard, and he held up better than arguably any Vikings’ offensive lineman in pass protection in this game. He was charged with allowing just one pressure prior to review.
On defense, Cameron Dantzler continued his improved play since returning in Week 11. He was targeted six times and allowed just 30 receiving yards on those targets, adding an interception in the process. Jeff Gladney also played well in the slot for Minnesota. Sixteen of his 26 coverage snaps in the game came inside, and he didn’t allow a reception on those plays.
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