MINNEAPOLIS — Is quarterback Mitch Trubisky ready for the playoffs?
The answer to that question was revealed over the course of a 16-play, 75-yard scoring drive that lasted just over nine minutes.
“This was a great situation for him here, especially with the situation we’re in,” linebacker Danny Trevathan said after the Bears’
24-10 victory against the Vikings on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
“Heading into the playoffs, it’s good to play a good defense on the road. The crowd was stupid loud, but I felt like he held his composure, faced a little adversity, came out there and made throws and the plays that he needed to make.”
Everything Trevathan said happened during that drive that started with 1:51 remaining in the third quarter and culminated with running back Tarik Cohen’s three-yard touchdown run with 7:46 left.
The Bears needed only one moment of good fortune, too. Vikings safety Jayron Kearse was penalized for holding tight end Trey Burton in the middle of the field at the Vikings’ 38. It nullified linebacker Anthony Barr’s sack of Trubisky on third down.
The other four third downs on that drive?
Trubisky converted them by running for one and by completing two passes to seventh-round pick Javon Wims — who didn’t have a catch in the NFL before Sunday —and one to Burton.
“It’s not easy,” coach Matt Nagy said. “He orchestrated everybody and got everybody in the right spot and did a great job.”
That’s an understatement.
Think about it: Trubisky answered a Vikings’ scoring drive that cut the Bears’ lead to 13-10 late in the third quarter by meticulously moving the ball against one of the NFL’s stingiest defenses — the best on third down to be exact — and in an extremely hostile environment.
Trubisky also did it without his top three receivers — Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller — who were all sidelined with injuries.
Wims, who has been inactive for 11 games, made four receptions for 32 yards. It included catches for gains of 16 and nine yards on third downs during the fourth quarter.
Nagy said that he had to call timeouts Sunday to ensure that his personnel calls were understood. Receiver Kevin White also made a 22-yard catch in the first quarter.
“It’s just some of the stuff we go through,” Nagy said.
But the Bears got through it because of Trubisky, who also completed a two-point conversion to linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski to cap off his game-defining drive.
Last week, it was said that Trubisky didn’t play as well his final numbers showed against the 49ers. Against the Vikings, it was the exact opposite. He was 18-for-26 for 163 yards. He only had an 85.9 rating.
But Trubisky was exceptional when it mattered most; Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins wasn’t. The Bears converted 8 of 14 third downs. It included a 40-yard completion to Gabriel down to the Vikings’ 1 in the second quarter. Running back Jordan Howard scored on the next play.
“When you get into third down, that’s the money down,” Trubisky said. “You’ve got to convert, especially against a defense that’s really good on third down. For me, it was just finding completions, moving the sticks. But it always starts up front, them giving me time, seeing the defense and making the throws that we do in practice all week.”
The entire day was a worthwhile experience for Trubisky, who handled the Vikings’ various looks and pressures. He needed to be tested before the postseason, and the noise clearly affected the Bears’ offense at times. But it was a playoff atmosphere that Trubisky ultimately excelled in.
“It will just prepare us for this run we’re about to go on,” Trubisky said, “playing in a tough environment like that and having young guys step up and make plays.”