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Halas Intrigue Bears Report: Breaking down Week 17 victory over Vikings

Disappointing season ends with sloppy Bears needing to rally against a Vikings team that essentially conceded this game from the start.

Bears running back David Montgomery carries the ball in the season finale against the Vikings.
David Montgomery #32 of the Chicago Bears carries the ball for a touchdown in the third quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The good: The Bears closed out 2019 with a 21-19 victory over the Vikings to even their record at 8-8.

The bad: The Bears, who had Super Bowl aspirations entering the season, wound up just 8-8.

The ugly: The Bears needed to rally against a Vikings team that essentially conceded this game from the start.

Let’s get to it ...

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Offense: A rush to judgment

While it was a low-stakes game against a bunch of second-stringers, the Bears’ success on the ground Sunday hints at an alternate universe where the rushing attack powered a more formidable offense in 2019. David Montgomery, while lacking for big plays, ran for 113 yards in 23 carries. Matt Nagy didn’t overthink things and stuck to some basics that worked.

It’s not much, especially considering how the offense failed to put things away after building an 18-6 lead, but it might be a lesson for next season.

By the numbers:
  • 179 NET PASSING YARDS: Fueled by lots of short passes, Mitch Trubisky completed 26 of 37 passes for 207 yards. He also got sacked four times.
  • 158 RUSHING YARDS: Rookie David Montgomery had his second 100-yard rushing game with 23 carries for 113 yards.

Defense: A notch below 2018 version

The defense, which has been superb but not as overwhelming as last season, came up with seismic plays against the Vikings. If only they could’ve done some of that when the games counted.

Among the Bears’ many problems this season, coach Matt Nagy has been consistent on saying all three phases — offense, defense and special teams — share the blame. Among those three, the defense deserves the smallest blame. The defense’s window seems like it’ll be open for a while, but there are no guarantees, as Jason Lieser writes.

By the numbers:
  • 0 SACKS: The Vikings didn’t throw much, but the Bears hit the QB just three times.
  • 3 TAKEAWAYS: Eddie Jackson picked off a Sean Mannion on the final play of the game.

Special Teams: Eddy steady down stretch

A season that opened with trepidation and doubt about the Bears’ place-kicker ended with Eddy Pineiro kicking a 22-yard field goal to give the Bears a Week 17 road victory — and it meant zilch.

As it turns out, after the well-documented search for a kicker to replace Cody Parkey that was ridiculed nationally and locally, the kicker wasn’t the problem. Pineiro’s game-winner with 10 seconds left was his fourth field goal without a miss Sunday to finish his rookie season with 11 consecutive made field goals, as Mark Potash writes.

By the numbers:
  • Eddy Pineiro: 4-for-4 on field goals (26 yards, 26 yards, 33 yards, 34 yards).
  • Cordarrelle Patterson: Left game early with a concussion.

What They’re Saying

  • Matt Nagy: “That 2020 [season] starts right now — literally the second I walk off this stage... I’m ready to go in attack mode and figure out with Ryan [Pace] how we want to go about this thing.”
  • Mitch Trubisky: “You have to look at the season and be honest with yourself and your teammates. And, as a leader, make decisions that are best for you to get better.”

From Our Notebooks

  • While this season didn’t go according to plan, expect a quiet Black Monday for the Bears’ coaching staff. It’s a virtual certainty that Matt Nagy returns, and general manager Ryan Pace is set to meet with reporters Tuesday. If anyone seems on shaky ground, it’s offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich — even if he’s not the one who’s been calling the plays.
  • The victory Sunday gives Nagy win No. 20, which surpasses George Halas (19, 1920-21) for the most wins by a Bears head coach in his first two seasons.
  • Mitch Trubisky completed 26 for 37 passes for 207 yards. He finished the season with 3,138 passing yards, marking back-to-back 3,000-yard passing seasons. The only other Bears quarterback to accomplish this feat was Jay Cutler, who did it twice from 2009-10 and 2014-15.

Here are even more game highlights.


What’s Next?

The Bears will watch the postseason from home as they get ready for an important offseason with big decisions at quarterback, linebacker and elsewhere. Free agency begins in mid-March and the 2020 NFL Draft is set for April 23-25 in Las Vegas.


On the Podcast

The Bears win a meaningless season finale at Minnesota, but it was nice to see some flashes of competency. Patrick Finley and Jason Lieser discuss which players might be gone when the 2020 season rolls around, and Mark Potash gives out his legendary game balls.

In the Pot-Cast, Mark gives his thoughts on men’s fashion.

Listen here.

Also, got any questions for the Bears?