With Pro Bowl talent at every level of Chicago’s defense, the Bears are a force to be reckoned with. In a prime-time matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago’s defensive unit showed just how much of a force they can truly be, dominating Minnesota’s offense en route to a 25-20 victory.
Overall, Chicago held Minnesota to just 20 points for the game, which is four points less than the Vikings’ season average. The strong defensive effort came from all over the field, and it started early.
Points can be hard to come by in NFC North divisional battles, and the first half of Sunday night was no different. Chicago led just 3-0 after one quarter, and Minnesota was driving and deep in Bears’ territory immediately after the field goal.
Kirk Cousins handed the ball off to Dalvin Cook, who tried to run left, but was met by several Bears defenders. One of the Bears on the tackle was All-Pro and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Khalil Mack, who forced Cook to fumble, and somehow recovered the fumble, too. That turnover was just the first of the night for the Vikings, as there would be plenty to go around.
Chicago then scored off of an Anthony Miller touchdown and picked up another three points from a second Cody Parkey field goal to go up 14-0 under a minute before halftime.
With the 14-0 deficit, Minnesota was back into Chicago territory with just 20 seconds before intermission, and Cousins took the shotgun snap. Under heavy pressure from Leonard Floyd and Roy Robertson-Harris, Cousins made an awful throw off his back foot, and Bears’ safety Adrian Amos intercepted it, giving Chicago their second takeaway and taking a shutout into the locker room in this massive divisional showdown.
Mitchell Trubisky struggled at several points on the night, but Chicago’s defense always stepped up and kept the lead for the Bears at home.
Mack picked up yet another sack after a second Trubisky interception, and the Bears led 14-3 going into the final quarter.
Minnesota was driving down 14-3 and knocking on the doorstep, but Akiem Hicks sacked Cousins on a huge third-down play to hold the Vikings to a field goal. Just a few plays later, Eddie Jackson made the play of the night for the Bears.
Jackson intercepted yet another Cousins throw and took it 27 yards for a touchdown to help Chicago gain a 22-6 lead, which they would not relinquish.
The numbers for this Bears’ defense do not even tell the whole story, but they were certainly impressive on Sunday. Chicago forced three turnovers in total, as well as a third-down completion percentage under 50 percent, to go along with less than 300 total yards for Minnesota. The most impressive stat, however, was that the Bears’ defense held the Vikings to just a paltry 22 rushing yards on the game on 14 attempts, which makes out to just 1.6 yards per rush.
It was an impressive performance, but according to Mack, the team isn’t even close to where they could be.
If there’s still room for improvement after that performance, then other offenses should be afraid to go up against this Chicago Bears’ defense. Just ask Cousins and Cook about that.