The Chicago Bears’ defense took over en route to a 25-20 win over the Vikings.
Here are five takeaways from the game …
1. Defense Wins Games
There are no two ways about it: the Chicago Bears’ defense won the game Sunday night. In the NFC North division during cold weather season, sometimes that will be enough. Chicago’s defense added three more takeaways to give themselves 27 in just 10 games so far this season, and Eddie Jackson’s interception went for a touchdown, adding to their league-leading 91 points off turnovers. With talent scattered all over the defense, this unit can play with anybody.
2. The Hicks Effect
Big name interior linemen like Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh may get more attention, but Akiem Hicks is playing like the best defensive lineman in the NFL right now. On Sunday, Hicks played one of the best games of his life, and the numbers don’t even do his performance justice.
Hicks picked up a huge sack in the fourth quarter, to go along with an incredible team-leading five tackles for loss. Late in the fourth, Hicks also batted down a pass from Kirk Cousins and picked up two more quarterback hits. It was a dominant performance from “Big Dog,” as the Bears’ defense affectionately refers to Hicks, the leader of the Bears’ front seven.
3. Keep on running
One major key to NFC North success, especially in the second half of the season, is to have a successful run game. Chicago did not have the best yards per carry average at 3.8 on the night, but the Bears still ran for nearly 150 yards. The team total of 148 yards was nearly seven times that of the Vikings’ total, and Chicago picked up over 100 yards on the ground in just the first half. Mitchell Trubisky leads the NFL in rushing yards at his position, and Tarik Cohen is a big play waiting to happen. If Jordan Howard can continue to hold on to the ball and pick up tough yards in the winter, Chicago will have the perfect recipe for cold-weather success.
4. Trubisky’s Progress
Mitchell Trubisky continues to show progress as Chicago’s franchise quarterback. The second-year signal caller dropped back and made a big throw to Allen Robinson on the final drive and also threw the touchdown pass to Anthony Miller, where only he could get it. In addition, Trubisky made countless plays with his legs. However, he needs to not force throws downfield when they are simply not there. That has been an issue this season and continued against a tough Minnesota defense on Sunday, leading to two interceptions and nearly a third in the fourth quarter.
5. Perfect Night for Parkey
After a dreadful showing in Detroit last weekend, Cody Parkey finally went to Soldier Field and practiced kicking field goals during the week, and this led to major success on Sunday. Parkey went three-for-three, including a massive field goal late in the fourth, as Matt Nagy trusted Parkey instead of going for it on fourth down to help extend Chicago’s lead. It was a great moment of redemption, highlighted by Nagy giving Parkey a nice wink before the kick.
Nagy knew. ? pic.twitter.com/Y0X84OqQnx
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 19, 2018