Some weeks are better than others for the Bears. Here’s how three Bears fared in Sunday’s 24-10 win against the division rival Vikings:
It’s hard to beat Kyle Long’s weekend. The right guard was activated off injured reserve Saturday, and started and played 27 snaps the next day. By winning, he helped ensure his older brother Chris — who might retire at the end of the season — could play at least one more game.
Long, who broke his foot in October, figures to start — and probably play the entire game — against the Eagles. Long said he hoped that Sunday’s win was proper preparation.
“Andre Tucker, our head athletic trainer, and the rest of our training staff has done a great job keeping my mind right and keeping me ready,” Long said. [Offensive line] coach [Harry] Hiestand has done a great job of keeping me mentally sharp in the classroom. Also, being around the O-Line and around the guys every day. Being in meetings there is not much that I am missing.”
He said it will be “such a blast” to face his brother next week.
Nitpicking a missed extra point is a nice problem to have. But no matter how much coach Matt Nagy defends Cody Parkey — he said the kicker’s second-quarter miss wasn’t his fault, and film showed that Patrick Scales sent a high snap —it’s fair to wonder how much the Bears should trust him entering the playoffs.
His conversion of a 42-yard field goal with four minutes left was a good sign that he could bounce back. Still, Parkey has missed seven field goals and three extra points — which, amazingly, all hit the upright —this year.
Jordan Howard is turning into a weapon —finally. The running back ran 21 times for 109 yards on Sunday, the second time in four weeks that he’s reached triple digits. He finishes the season with 935 yards — after entering December with 536.
Howard’s season-long 42 yards run on the game’s second play — starting off behind Kyle Long, no less —set the tone for what would become a whuppin.’
The Bears didn’t want the game to swing on the Vikings’ third-down defense, which had been dominant all year. They knew they needed to be efficient on first and second down.
“We did a great job running the ball all day to keep them honest,” quarterback Mitch Truibsky said. “It all started up front with the offensive line. That was the only way we were able to get those conversions and have a big run game is because our offensive line.”