November 19, 2018 05:28 AM
Khalil Mack had a sack and fumble recovery, Eddie Jackson returned an interception for a touchdown and the Chicago Bears tightened their grip on the NFC North with a 25-20 victory over the second-place Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night.
Mack and Jackson led a dominant effort by the defense. And Chicago (7-3) took a big step toward its first division championship since 2010.
The Bears have won a season-high four in a row. And the past two have come against the NFC North after they dropped 10 straight to division opponents.
Chicago simply suffocated the Vikings (5-4-1), dominating in total yards (308-268) and time of possession (34:29-25:31) even though quarterback Mitchell Trubisky had his difficulties.
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The Bears were leading by eight midway through the fourth quarter when Jackson picked off a pass from Kirk Cousins that was intended for Laquon Treadwell. His 27-yard TD return and a 2-point conversion pass from Trubisky to Adam Shaheen made it 22-6.
Cousins then threw a 13-yard TD to Aldrick Robsinon and a 2-point conversion to Adam Thielen, making it 22-14. But Cody Parkey kicked to 48-yard field goal with 2:48 left. And the Bears hung on from there.
Trubisky was 20 of 31 for 165 yards and a touchdown. But he was intercepted two times by Anthony Harris.
Parkey shook off a performance unlike any other by making all three of his field goal attempts. It was a big improvement over the previous week, when he hit uprights four times while missing two field goals and two extra points against Detroit.
Cousins was 30 of 46 for 262 yards. He threw two touchdowns in the final 4:51 and got intercepted two times.
Stefon Diggs had 13 catches for 126 yards and a TD. But the Vikings came up short after winning four of five.
Parkey nailed a 33-yard field goal down the middle on Chicago's first possession, drawing a loud and maybe sarcastic roar from the crowd. It was a promising start for a kicker lampooned by Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show." Chicago TV stations even sent helicopters to shoot footage when he practiced at Soldier Field on Wednesday night.
Mack gave the crowd more to cheer near the end of the first quarter when he jarred the ball from Dalvin Cook and recovered at the Chicago 15, stopping a scoring threat.
The Bears added to their lead midway through the second when a sliding Anthony Miller hauled in an 18-yard touchdown from Trubisky. That capped the league's longest touchdown drive this season in terms of plays (13) and time (7:13).Trubisky then hit Bellamy in the end zone to make it 11-0, after Chicago opted to go for two rather than have Parky attempt an extra point.
Parkey nailed a 41-yarder with room to spare in the closing minute of the half to make it a 14-point game. The Vikings then drove to the Chicago 32. But with Leonard Floyd bearing down on him, Cousins unleashed a wobbly heave that Adrian Amos picked off with on one else near him.
Bears: LB Aaron Lynch left with a concussion in the first half. ... TE Adam Shaheen was being evaluated for a concussion.
Vikings: Host Green Bay on Nov. 25.
Bears: Visit Detroit on Thursday.
The Associated Press
Updated: November 19, 2018 05:28 AM
Created: November 18, 2018 10:49 PM
(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)