Payton Presser: The Bears find a way to win on the West Coast

Fans dressed as Santa Claus watch during the second half of an NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

First off, I would like to say Happy Holidays to you and your family. The Bears have given us so much to be happy about this year. After locking up the division last week against the team from Green Bay, their next test was a trip out to the West Coast to take on an up-and-coming 49ers squad. The fear wasn’t if this would be a letdown game, but could the Bears come out of the contest as healthy as they came in? The goal is simple now: Win the last two games and let the chips fall where they may. Matt Nagy’s team would get the win beating the 49ers 14-9. Things seem to be falling into place for this team as they get ready to embark on a playoff run. Let’s jump into some of my takeaways from the game.

Mitchell Trubisky didn’t have an eye-popping game on Sunday, but he was efficient. Trubisky was 25 of the 29 passes for 246 yards and 1 touchdown. Number 10 had a few moments in the contest that were head scratching, like the ill-advised backward pass to Tarik Cohen or the interception he threw but got bailed out by a holding call. If you can look past those plays, Trubisky did what I hoped he would: Take what the defense was giving him. He also made some throws to make you hit the rewind button on your remote. When the Bears needed a jolt in the 2nd half, Trubisky helped orchestrate a 90 yard drive where he went 7-of-7 for 49 yards. The Trubisky on that drive is the Trubisky I want to see more of. He looked comfortable and in command on that drive. I know everyone expects so much from the 2nd year QB, but right now we need him to focus on growing as a signal caller while taking care of the football. I don’t know what the future holds for Trubisky, but I can say that I am 100% behind the young QB.

Once again the Bears mixed things up when it came to the distribution of the football. Week in and week out, we’ve seen Nagy spread the ball around. This week it was all about Allen Robinson as he racked up a team high 85 yards on 6 catches. His biggest play of the day came early in the game when he hauled in a 43 yard pass from Trubisky. Rookie Anthony Miller was a factor this week as well. Miller had 3 receptions for 24 yards with a four-yard TD reception. The young rookie now has 7 touchdown catches this season. Jordan Howard made his presence felt as he carried the ball 13 times for 53 yards and a crucial 2 yard TD in 3rd quarter. Nagy doesn’t like running the ball, I get it. But I feel a lot better about their ability to run if they have to down the line.

My only issue I have coming out of the contest is with Cody Parkey. Parkey would make a pair of extra point attempts but would miss his only field-goal attempt. Parkey has missed 6 field-goal attempts over his last 11 games. That’s way too many. The Bears have the best defense in the NFL and an offense that is making strides week after week. I’m so scared this team could end up losing a playoff game because of its kicker. Parkey needs to lock in and get his mind right so he’s not the headline in the post-season for the wrong reason.

The Bears defense came to the rescue as they often have this season. I know I say this every week, but Vic Fangio has his guys playing fast and confident. Mack and company held the 49ers to 47 yards on the ground and 279 total yards. They came up big when you needed them, none bigger then Danny Trevathan’s interception with 7:43 remaining in the game. Rookie Roquan Smith lead the Bears in tackles again on Sunday. He finished with a team-high 9 tackles, including two for a loss, and he added a quarterback hit and 1 sack. His comfort level in Fangio’s defense shows week after week.

The Bears have exceeded my expectations this season so now I feel like we are playing with house money. One game left and there is still a possibility of a 1st round bye. The goal in my mind was to just be better than we were the last 5 years and now I’m watching a team that wants to be great, knows they’ve put in the work to be where they are this season, and are not satisfied with their accomplishments. This Bears team is a direct reflection of their head coach. Matt Nagy has not only energized the guys in his locker room, he has energized the fans as well. The job he’s done with this ball club is truly amazing. Taking a team from worst to first in the NFC North wasn’t easy, but installing a new mind set with his club was also difficult. The guys on this roster believe they can win any game they play. They have proven that all season long. Next on their list is a date with the Vikings in Minnesota. With the playoffs around the corner, don’t think Nagy is going sit his starters with a chance to earn a 1st round bye. This team is special and still has another level that they haven’t even tapped into yet. I look forward to seeing how this all plays out next weekend. Talk soon, Bears fans. #Beardown