The Chicago Bears live to fight another day.
The win improved the Bears’ (7-7) playoffs odds to 35% with two weeks left to play, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. Had the Bears lost, those postseason chances would have plummeted to 2%.
Instead, the Vikings (6-8) are basically finished, while the Bears are still in the mix for the seventh and final NFC wild-card spot. Chicago ends the season with Jacksonville Jaguars and Green Bay Packers.
The Bears’ recent turnaround on offense has been astonishing to watch.
Just over a month removed from one of the franchise’s most anemic offensive showings against these very same Vikings in Week 10, Chicago pushed Minnesota around, anchored by the now steady hand of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and the agile power of running back David Montgomery.
The Bears’ six-game losing streak cannot be erased from the memory banks. After all, Matt Nagy’s team opened the year 5-1, so the mere fact Chicago is even in jeopardy of missing the postseason is unsettling.
But the Bears have partially weathered the storm. Another victory next Sunday would give the Bears three straight years of .500 or better football for the first time since 2010-13.
Nagy is 27-20 (including playoffs) as coach of the Bears. He still has a shot to guide the Bears to their second playoff berth in three years, which for Chicago is a rarity.
Hold off on the sweeping offseason changes at Halas Hall — for now.
QB breakdown: Except for a late interception in the end zone, Trubisky was fabulous again. The individual numbers (15 of 21 for 202 yards, one touchdown, one interception) are not going to overwhelm you, but Trubisky played a smart, efficient and effective game. Whatever happens with Trubisky next year is inconsequential. The odds that he leaves Chicago are still greater than the probability he returns. So what? Enjoy the ride. Trubisky is playing the best ball of his four-year NFL career. Don’t read too much into it in terms of 2021 and beyond. Follow Trubisky’s advice: Take it in stride and have fun.
Promising trend: Montgomery is in the zone. The 23-year-old running back has scored touchdowns in four straight games — the first Bear to do so since Tarik Cohen in 2018. Montgomery gashed the Vikings’ defense with a career-high 146 yards and two touchdowns. Montgomery became the first Bears player since Jordan Howard to rush for 100-plus yards in back-to-back games. Montgomery has now topped 100-plus rushing yards in three of the past four weeks.
David Montgomery takes the handoff, muscles through multiple defenders and into the end zone for a touchdown.
Mr. Automatic: The feel-good story of 2020, the Cairo Santos‘ experience gets better every week. The veteran kicker — signed by the Bears late summer — has now made 22 consecutive field goals after converting all three of his attempts on Sunday. There seems little doubt the Bears offer Santos, 29, a contract extension after he’s kicked for the league minimum ($910,000) this season. Santos is a remarkable 25-of-27 on the season.
Money, Mooney: Wide receiver Darnell Mooney, who was drafted in the fifth round out of Tulane, broke Harlon Hill’s record for most receptions by a Bears rookie wideout. Mooney, now with 46 catches on the season, played an important role in Sunday’s victory with four receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown. Mooney also ripped off a 16-yard run on a well-executed jet sweep.