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Week 17 Game Recap: Chicago Bears 10, Minnesota Vikings 23
What you need to know
The Bears offense was dysfunctional, as their only touchdown came on a punt return. Jordan Howard
and the running game were stuck in neutral. Dontrelle Inman
made a case to be a core part of the receiving group next year, and Tarik Cohen
was used more in the passing game, but no big plays resulted.
The Vikings had already lost the chance to secure the number 1 overall seed, but still had a first-round bye to play for. There were several scenarios for the Vikings to secure the number 2 seed, and the easiest was with a win over their division rival. The Bears did not put up much of a fight and Latavius Murray
rushed for over 100 yards for just the second time this season. The Viking defense cemented the number 1 overall defense ranking for the season and Case Keenum
was efficient with the football and did not turn it over. The Vikings ended a 13-3 season and will have a week to rest and prepare for their next opponent in the second round of the playoffs.
|QB Mitchell Trubisky, 56 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 36 - 178 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0|
The Bears couldn't even get out of their own side of the field with Trubisky at the helm in the first half. The running game and penalties often set him up in third and longs against the tough Vikings defense. He also had an intentional grounding in the end zone for a safety late in the second quarter to cap the half of ineffectiveness. In the fourth quarter, they finally broke into Minnesota territory with a Josh Bellamy
end around, and then a long catch and run by Bellamy put them in a first and goal at the six, only for Trubisky to throw four straight incompletions. A nice throw to Dontrelle Inman
got them back into Minnesota territory, but a penalty forced them to settle for a field goal. One last drive deep into Minnesota territory resulted in a first and goal at the two, but Trubisky couldn't get them in with three straight pass attempts from point blank.
|RB Jordan Howard, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 9 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets)|
Howard had the same number of rushing yards as carries, which is never a good thing. All nine yards he gained came the one time the team gave him consecutive carries. They were in a third-and-1 and gave the ball to the fullback, who was stuffed. Howard didn't touch the ball on consecutive plays again on the afternoon.
|RB Tarik Cohen, 19 offensive snaps, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 13 - 0, Rec: 6 - 14 - 0 (8 targets)|
Cohen had two touches on the first drive, but then only touched the ball once more in the first half. He was used more in the second half, with a combination of runs for losses and substantial gains (for the Bears running game on this afternoon at least), and Cohen also had the last two targets on the after for this futile offense at the Minnesota two-yard line for an incompletion and a one-yard gain.
|RB Michael Burton, 11 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0, Rec: 1 - 0 - 0 (1 targets)|
Burton wasn't able to convert a third and one or a goal-to-go down from the two on his two touches.
Inman held his own against Xavier Rhodes, even drawing two penalties from the elite corner. He was responsible for the only first down on offense of the first half for the Bears, and in the second half, he had three downfield receptions to start drives that ended in Minnesota territory. He has made a strong case to be a top three receiver for the Bears if they decide to bring him back in free agency after being reasonably productive despite being brought in mid-season.
|QB Case Keenum, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 29 - 189 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 0 - 0|
There was some talk about the Vikings resting some of their starters this week and Keenum was the main topic. The easiest way to lock up a first-round bye was with a win and Keenum ended up playing the entire game and closing out a very successful season. He was very efficient and did not try to force the ball down the field this week. He spread the ball around more than any other point this season with 8 receivers having at least 1 target. Diggs and Thielen still dominated the overall number or targets and both had over 60 yards receiving. Keenum hit Diggs across the middle on a 15-yard play action pass to put the game out of reach. Diggs made a leaping catch in the end zone on a pass that was a little high from Keenum. There were not many other big plays in the passing game, but the important stat is the lack of turnovers. The Vikings will get the winner of Los Angeles and Atlanta in the second round of the playoffs.
|RB Latavius Murray, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 111 - 2, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (1 targets)|
The entire offense went through Murray this week as he rushed for over 100 yards and added 2 scores on the ground. Both touchdown runs were of the 1-yard variety and were pure power running up the middle. His longest run of the game was a 22-yard scamper off tackle and he finished the day with a 5.6 yards per carry average. Murray added 1 catch for 3 yards but was not needed in the passing game. Murray out-touched McKinnon 21 to 13 this week and will lead the charge in the playoffs.
The success of the run game was the story of this game, but that did not have a lot to do with McKinnon this week. Murray was having so much success that the Vikings did not need to use McKinnon as much. McKinnon had success on only 1 run with a 14-yard burst but was largely contained outside of that. He had 1 target in the passing game but was unable to haul in the catch. With a week off to rest and game plan, McKinnon will be healthy and ready to take on whichever team wins the wild card round. Look for an expanded role throughout the playoffs as the Vikings look to keep their balanced attack.
|WR Stefon Diggs, 62 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -8 - 0, Rec: 6 - 65 - 1 (6 targets)|
Diggs seems to have finally completely healed from his groin injury and is becoming a force in the Vikings receiving core like he was to start the season. Diggs led the team in receiving yards again this week and hauled in the only touchdown through the air. The touchdown came on a 15-yard post route where Diggs had to go up and over the safety to make the catch. Keenum threw the ball just high enough for Diggs to make the play. Diggs leads the NFL in contested catches this season and showed it again today. Diggs added the Vikings longest play of the game with a 26-yard catch and run down the sideline to help set up the first touchdown of the game.
|WR Adam Thielen, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 61 - 0 (7 targets)|
Thielen has seemed to give way to Stefon Diggs
in recent weeks and lost some of his targets. Diggs is finally healthy again and teams have been scheming to take Thielen away. There has been a lot more press coverage at the line and linebackers trying to knock Thielen off his crossing routes. Thielen only finished 4 yards behind Diggs this week and registered 1 more target. The biggest difference is Thielen does not get in the end zone. Thielen needs room to operate and seems to disappear within the red zone for the Vikings. His biggest catch of the day was a 16-yard out route for a first down. Thielen and Diggs have been a two-headed receiving monster for the Vikings and will be difficult for any team to cover in the playoffs.
|TE Kyle Rudolph, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (3 targets)|
The Vikings limited Rudolph this week as he is still coming off of an ankle injury. The big tight end had a single catch on 3 targets and was not the focal point in the red zone and goal to go situations. Rudolph may be the biggest beneficiary of the week off to get back to 100%.