Unless you’re the type who loves cold and rainy conditions, the 2018 calendar year will close out on a bummer of a weather note. With that in mind, I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful New Year’s Eve celebration planned for tonight. Stay warm. Stay safe. We’ve got awesome things in store for 2019.
- This team has so much darn fun and I don’t want it to stop:
- The Bears went into Sunday with essentially little to play for and walloped a team that entered the season among the Super Bowl favorites playing for its playoff lives. Matt Nagy spent all year driving home the idea of finishing strong and his team put those words into action with a convincing road win in a building where they’ve never been victorious. And save for getting Nick Kwiatkoski a two-point conversion reception, there was nothing really fancy about it.
- Here was the Bears’ game-plan in a nutshell: run the ball, stop the run, pressure the quarterback. Late Bears linebacker Doug Buffone would have been proud of this one. The Bears had a nice game on the ground, running it 37 times for 169 yards and three scores. Vikings running back Dalvin Cook was bottled up to the tune of 11 carries and 39 yards, while Vikings ball-carriers were tackled for a loss eight times. And then there was Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins, the $84 million man who struggled to get anything going in the air. Cousins was sacked four times and hit nine times by Bears pass rushers. Dang! That hurts me just typing it.
- Just another day at the office for a record-setting Bears defense:
The #Bears defense has set a new franchise record allowing 1,280 rushing yards in 2018, breaking the previous record of 1,313 in 2001.
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) December 31, 2018
- That group created a turnover on downs in the fourth quarter with Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks on the bench. I mean, what else can you ask for?
- This is what a great defense does to people:
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) December 30, 2018
Checking in on the Vikings…
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 30, 2018
- On the other side of the ledger, the Bears kept Mitch Trubisky clean. Trubisky wasn’t sacked and took just one quarterback hit. Welcome back, Kyle Long! Bears ball-carriers were beneficiaries of a strong offensive line too, as they were brought down behind the line of scrimmage just twice.
- I have a feeling this is what playoff football is going to look like. It will be loud and gritty, but if the Bears can win that kind of game on the road against a desperate team, then fans should be confident in their team as long as it is in the playoffs.
- LOL. The Vikings were favored by six points and lost by 14. Tough beat.
- This throw still gives me feelings:
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) December 30, 2018
- Trubisky un-corking a 3rd-and-6 deep ball down the left sideline is something we would have never seen earlier in the season. Those routes have been there all year, but only now is Trubisky seeing them and showing confidence (and skill) to throw them. If you’re willing to shut out noise and watch the game for what it is, then you would realize this is what in-season development looks like from a young quarterback. It’s a beautiful thing to see.
- The Vikings cut their deficit to 3 and appeared to have plenty of time to make a comeback. Except the Bears made sure they didn’t:
4th Qtr T.O.P.
Vikings- 3:59 pic.twitter.com/M6fXKvxgLn
— Laurence Holmes (@LaurenceWHolmes) December 31, 2018
- You can’t win if you don’t score. And you can’t score if you don’t have the ball. It’s as simple as that.
- Oh, yeah. There was a Kevin White sighting:
Kevin White catch wut? pic.twitter.com/8YUzFqRJJS
— MarcusD (@Someone20241575) December 30, 2018
- While the Bears were dismantling the Vikings, they had support from an unlikely ally out east:
— EROCK (@TheMightyEROCK) December 30, 2018
- A tale of two newspaper sports fronts:
— Mike Sansone (@TheMikeSansone) December 31, 2018
The #Eagles land in the playoffs after needing some help from the #Bears on the final day of the regular season. The #Philadelphia #Inquirer #Sports front @APSE_sportmedia #FlyEaglesFly #NFLPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/JU4A5CbfJ6
— Luke Reasoner (@lukereasoner) December 31, 2018
- I woke up still feeling like this:
Still wrapping my head around the fact that the Bears finished the season 12-4. TWELVE AND F***ING FOUR.
We believed they could win 10, especially after the Mack trade. But man alive. This regular season was incredible.
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) December 31, 2018
- The Bears’ 12-4 record speaks for itself. Winning record at home (7-1), on the road (5-3), against the division (5-1), and the conference (10-2). Yes, the Bears played a fourth-place schedule. But they also went 4-1 against teams with winning records and 2-1 against ones that qualified for the playoffs. As for their losses, two overtime defeats by 3 points and a 7-point home loss to the Patriots. The Bears beat who they were supposed to and even won some games they had no business winning. It’s exactly what winning teams are supposed to do.
- Let’s put this 12-win season within a historical context. It’s the first time the Bears have won at least 12 games in a season since 2006, marks just the eighth time it’s happened in franchise history, and only the sixth time since the NFL-AFL merger. Meanwhile, Tom Brady has 10 seasons of 12+ wins in his career as the Patriots starting quarterback.
- And it’s not as if the Bears didn’t earn their wins. Their plus-138 point differential is the third best among NFC teams (only the Saints (plus-151) and Rams (plus-143) were better) and fourth best in the league (the Chiefs at plus-144 pushed the Bears down a peg). You know you’re in good company when you’re hanging with those teams.
- Whatever happens the rest of the way, I’m happy with how things have gone in 2018.