The most curious part about Kirk Cousins asserting that the reason the Bears and Vikings were flexed to Sunday Night Football purely because of Minnesota’s presence, was that he clearly forgot the existence of Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, and Leonard Floyd. Oh what a naive mistake that was.
For 60 primetime minutes, this Bears’ trio made life a living hell for Cousins and the entire Vikings offense. In addition to their more easily recordable, traditional, and expected box score stuffing, Mack and Hicks combined for an astonishing five quarterback pressures each, according to Pro Football Focus. Meanwhile Floyd enjoyed four pressures of his own. This was defensive transcendence from three talented players camping in the Minnesota backfield.
On the back-end, the story wasn’t as good for Chicago. Kyle Fuller was targeted 14 times and allowed 10 catches for 80 yards. Meanwhile, Prince Amukamara was targeted 12 times and he allowed nine catches for 88 yards and two touchdowns. The only saving grace was a sparkling outing on the part of Eddie Jackson, who allowed no direct receptions.
The lesson here is: the late prevent defense isn’t a great idea, Vic Fangio.
To the Bears offense, while Mitchell Trubisky did throw two interceptions, he actually did about as well as you’d expect against a defense like the Vikings. The second-year quarterback fared well against the Vikings’ blitz, attaining an 80.1 passer rating on 10 blitzed drop backs, as opposed to a 57.1 rating when not blitzed. (That figure was boosted by Anthony Miller’s touchdown.)
Meanwhile, up front, Bryan Witzmann had a rough night in his #RevengeGame, allowing two pressures and a sack on the right side. His partner, Bobby Massie, also allowed two pressures. That was okay in the confines of the Bears’ overall offensive line, though, as each Charles Leno, James Daniels, and Cody Whitehair combined for a mere one pressure allowed.
In a home game #UnderTheLights, the Bears didn’t play a perfect game. But they certainly shined in enough areas to come out on top. That’s what good, contending teams do this time of year.
Robert is the Editor-in-chief of The Blitz Network (subscribe here!), the managing editor of Windy City Gridiron, and writes for a host of other fine publications. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.