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Week 17 Game Recap: Chicago Bears 21, Minnesota Vikings 19


What you need to know

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears established a strong run game against the Minnesota Vikings with a fine effort by David Montgomery. Mitchell Trubisky struggled, consistently throwing short of the line to gain and fumbled twice, including a lost fumble in the second half that set up the Vikings with a go-ahead score. Allen Robinson was heavily involved in the offense and was tough to cover throughout the game.

Minnesota Vikings

With nothing to play for in week 17, the Vikings rested all of their starters against the Bears. They had already wrapped up a playoff spot and a loss to Green Bay last week slammed the door on a division title. Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison are still banged up and this gave them another week to rest. The Vikings also held out receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs as well as tight end Kyle Rudolph. This should have been a great opportunity to see what they had in back up Sean Mannion and give Mike Boone another shot. Boone finally delivered after laying an egg last week, but Mannion struggled and made many fans wonder if the Vikings chose the wrong back up quarterback. The defense did a great job despite Harrison Smith and Danielle Hunter not playing. It was a late drive and a long pass on 4th down by the Bears that cost the Vikings a win. Minnesota will most likely take on either Seattle or New Orleans on the road during the Wild Card round next week depending on the outcome of the Seahawks and 49ers game on Sunday Night Football.

Chicago Bears

QB Mitchell Trubisky, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 37 - 207 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 1 - 0
Mitchell Trubisky was a limiting element in the Chicago Bears offense against the Vikings on Sunday. Trubisky rarely stretched the field vertically and too frequently threw balls beneath the sticks on third down, including on the first drive of the game which was 12 plays and 69 yards and was halted when Trubisky threw a ball on third down well short of the line to gain with little opportunity for a first down. Trubisky then took a sack on third and goal on the next drive. The Bears established the run well in the second half but turned again to Trubisky who subsequently fumbled on consecutive plays, with the second fumble recovered by the Vikings and setting up a score. Trubisky struggled throughout the season and will need to take a step forward in the offseason or risk losing his job next season.

RB David Montgomery, 49 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 113 - 1
David Montgomery had his second 100-yard game of the season against the Vikings on Sunday and his first since October. Montgomery was quiet early in the game as both Tarik Cohen and Cordarelle Patterson saw traditional running back carries in the first half. However, Montgomery got rolling in the second half, as he got two first downs on back to back carries on the first drive of the half. The Bears consistently created running room in the second half, which allowed Montgomery to accumulate 23 carries. His workload could have been even higher as the Bears were leading in the second half, but turned to Mitchell Trubisky in the passing game, which promptly resulted in a turnover. Montgomery scored a touchdown in the red zone, and had the opportunity for another score but sat down to keep the clock running on the final drive of the game. Montgomery enters the offseason with a top 24 rookie season under his belt.

RB Tarik Cohen, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 20 - 0, Rec: 9 - 44 - 0 (10 targets)
Tarik Cohen had 13 touches against the Vikings on Sunday. Cohen had traditional running back touches early in the first half, before working in his more frequent receiving centric role afterward. Cohen had a screen for a solid gain, a solid run after the catch for a conversion, and a chunk gain on a carry, but otherwise was held in check. The Bears turned too frequently to Cohen this season on inefficient opportunities where they essentially chose a low upside play instead of relying on Mitchell Trubisky for something more aggressive.

WR Allen Robinson, 72 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0, Rec: 9 - 71 - 0 (12 targets)
Allen Robinson was uncoverable against the Vikings on Sunday. Robinson was targeted a team-high 12 times and was consistently the option Mitchell Trubisky turned to on important throws. Robinson had three catches on the first drive, including the first two plays of the game, and was able to make multiple catches for third down conversions during the game. Robinson did catch two intermediate-depth balls over the middle and a tough contested catch along the sideline. He was also targeted on third and short in the red zone for a conversion on an out that had little chance of scoring a touchdown. Robinson enters the offseason on a high note, with the hope he can get better performance from the quarterback position in 2020.

WR Anthony Miller, 20 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets)
Anthony Miller finished the season on a low note as he was only targeted once on third down for a catch beneath the line to gain. Miller showed signs of progress this season but had inconsistent target shares and struggled with drops.


Minnesota Vikings

QB Sean Mannion, 49 offensive snaps, Pass: 12 - 21 - 126 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0
It was Mannion who won the back up job over Kyle Sloter in the preseason, and the Vikings gave him his first career start against the Bears. Mannion did not have any of the Vikings key offensive players this week and struggled mightily. He threw 2 interceptions, lost a fumble, but some how stayed on his feet and was not sacked. Mike Boone did a great job running the ball and should have softened the defense, but Mannion missed on several play action passes and completed just 57% of his passes. Mannion fumbled on the first drive of the game. Boone has just ripped off a 59-yard run to put the Vikings in great position and then mishandled the pitch on the next play. Mannion is credited with the fumble, but Boone was the one who could not hold on to it. It may not be a fair fumble, but that is how the rules are currently written. The next offensive drive resulted in an interception when Mannion tried to get the ball to Boone across the middle. This play also had more to do with Boone than Mannion. The ball was put right on the money and the interception happened when Boone tried to tuck the ball and turn up field and bobbled it into the air. It was a gift of an interception for the Bears defense and had nothing to do with the throw from Mannion. The final interception came on the last play of the game and the Vikings down. They had just given up the lead to the Bears with 10 seconds left and Mannion launched a hail marry down the field. The Bears safety was able to come down with the ball and end the game. The overall stat line did not look great for Mannion, but he did not get any help from Boone or any of the resting starters.

QB Kirk Cousins
The Vikings sent a clear message that they were resting starters this week when they sat Cousins. After a poor showing against the Packers last week, this would have been a good game to get things back on track, but the Vikings did not want to risk an injury when they could not do anything to change their playoff seed.

RB Mike Boone, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 148 - 1, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (3 targets)
This is the game that most people were expecting to see out of Boone in week 16 against the Packers. The big runs came a week too late for most and Boone ended the regular season on a high note. What is not seen in the box score was how he did not help his quarterback at all. Boone took the first play of the game 59 yards off the left tackle for a big play. The Vikings called his number on the next play, but he was unable to secure the pitch from Mannion. Since Boone never had possession of the ball, the fumble was credited to Mannion. It was not a bad pitch at all, and it looked like Boone simply took his eyes off the ball to look up field. On the next drive, Boone caught a check down across the middle and bobbled the ball as he tried to tuck it and turn up field. He knocked the ball up in the air and right into the arms of a Bears defender. Boone was then tackled in the end zone early in the 2nd quarter for a safety. The play had no chance with the Bears bringing pressure and blowing up the Viking offensive line. Boone saved his day with a 1-yard touchdown run to start the 4th quarter. He took the ball off the right guard and powered into the end zone for the score. This brought the Vikings to within 5 and made it a game. Boone is a power back, but the Vikings like the skill sets of Cook and Mattison for the long term. While his numbers looked great in the box score, Boone did more damage to the Viking offense than he did good.

RB Alexander Mattison
Mattison was ruled out with the same ankle injury that kept him out last week. He was listed as questionable when the Vikings ruled Cook out, but they played it safe and kept him out as well. The Vikings are looking to have the healthiest team possible next weekend for the playoffs.

RB Dalvin Cook
The most important player the Vikings needed to rest this week was Cook. He has been dealing with a shoulder injury and is a very important piece for this Viking offense heading into the playoffs. Cook was limited in practice all week and was ruled out on Friday. Cook has said he plans on playing in the playoffs for the Vikings.

WR Stefon Diggs
There was no concern about injury with Diggs, but again the Vikings wanted to play it safe with their offensive stars. It has been a long season for Diggs and an extra week of rest should help him be ready for the playoffs.

WR Adam Thielen
Another star and another player the Vikings elected to rest. Thielen has dealt with a hamstring injury this season and the Vikings wanted to play it safe. Thielen came out and said being held without a catch last week had nothing to do with the hamstring and that he is healthy and ready for the playoffs.

TE Kyle Rudolph, 1 offensive snaps
It is surprising the Vikings were able to field an entire team this week. They elected to rest Rudolph as well after leaning on the tight end heavily in the past few weeks. Rudolph turned his season around and finished as a top 15 tight end. The rest this week will help keep him healthy for a matchup with either Seattle or New Orleans.