December 31, 2018 / 12:49 AM / 5 months ago

Bears send Vikings home for January with 24-10 win

EditorsNote: Corrects time of Diggs TD, Bailey FG; corrects length of Cohen TD

Jordan Howard had 21 carries for 109 yards and two touchdowns, and the Chicago Bears held on for a 24-10 win to eliminate the host Minnesota Vikings from playoff contention Sunday evening.

Tarik Cohen also had a rushing touchdown for Chicago (12-4), which finished with its best regular-season record since 2006. The Bears locked up the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs and will host the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday afternoon.

Stefon Diggs scored the lone touchdown for Minnesota (8-7-1). The Vikings could have earned a wild-card playoff berth with a victory — which would have created a rematch in Chicago next week — but instead will go home early for the third time in five seasons under head coach Mike Zimmer.

Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky completed 18 of 26 passes for 163 yards. His top target was Taylor Gabriel, who finished with four catches for 61 yards.

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was 20 of 33 for 132 yards and a touchdown. He reached 30 passing touchdowns for the first time in his career but missed the postseason for the third season in a row and his first campaign with the Vikings.

Minnesota pulled within 13-10 with 1:51 to go in the third quarter. Diggs ran a crossing route and hauled in a 2-yard pass for his career-high ninth touchdown on the same day he reached 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in four seasons.

The Bears responded with a 3-yard rushing touchdown by Cohen with 7:46 left in the fourth quarter. Trubisky connected with linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski moments later for an unorthodox two-point conversion to make it 21-10.

Chicago led 13-3 at halftime.

Howard helped the Bears jump to a 7-0 lead on their opening possession. He rushed for 55 yards on his first three carries, including a 6-yard sprint into the end zone.

Chicago made it 13-0 with 7:17 left in the second quarter on Howard’s second rushing touchdown of the game and his ninth of the season. Gabriel set up the score with a diving catch at the Minnesota 1-yard line for a 40-yard gain.

Minnesota shaved the deficit to 13-3 on a 45-yard field goal by Dan Bailey with 53 seconds remaining in the first half.

Frustrations bubbled over for the Vikings as they sensed their postseason chances slipping away. Cameras caught Cousins and wide receiver Adam Thielen yelling at one another along the sideline after a stalled drive in the second quarter.

—Field Level Media

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