It was a big night at Soldier Field for the Chicago Bears, as they fended off a late charge and beat the Minnesota Vikings 25-20 on Sunday Night Football.
The win gives the Bears a bigger lead in the NFC North, and establishes them as one of the teams to watch in the NFC playoff hunt.
As we take a day to dig into the victory, here are the winners and losers from Sunday’s game:
Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks
Kirk Cousins hasn’t had much trouble with opposing pass rushes this season, but the Bears, and especially Khalil Mack, made life miserable for him in the pocket, registering two sacks and four quarterback hurries overall in the victory.
Mack also had a forced fumble and a recovered fumble in the game, and looked like he was back to his old self after he recently missed two games.
Mack wasn’t the only one that stood out in the game, as Akiem Hicks had five tackles, all for loss, in the contest. He has taken full advantage of the number of single team assignments he’s gotten, and he was a definitive difference-maker in the game.
After kicking at Soldier Field during the week, Parkey looked right at home, drilling home three field goal attempts. That number includes a massive kick that he made late in the fourth quarter, and it was enough to propel the team to victory.
It was an up and down week for Parkey, who started the week by missing a total of four kicks, including two extra points, and ended it by making one of the biggest kicks of his career. The fans at Soldier Field gave him a massive and well-deserved ovation after his third kick sailed through the uprights.
Mitchell Trubisky and the Offense
The Bears’ offense had a couple of fantastic drives in the first half of the game, but they stumbled a bit down the stretch, giving the Vikings a chance to get back into the game.
Part of those struggles can be chalked up to the Vikings’ strong defense, but the Bears seemed to abandon the run a bit too much in the second half, as Matt Nagy, understandably, tried to get the passing game going to put Minnesota away.
Trubisky has to work on his accuracy in those types of situations, and as Nagy matures as a coach, he’ll continue to develop a better feel for how aggressive to be, and what strategies to use, as the Bears try to put away games against quality opponents.
The Bears' Secondary
Yes, Eddie Jackson had an interception return for a touchdown, but after a strong first half, the Bears' secondary was largely at the mercy of Cousins in the second half of the game, giving up 192 yards through the air in the half.