MINNEAPOLIS — The Bears didn’t hold anything back in their offensive playbook in Sunday’s 24-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings, as evidenced by the two-point conversion attempt call dialed up by coach Matt Nagy.
The play — dubbed “Lollipop” — called for cornerback Prince Amukamara to run fake jet motion across the line of scrimmage four times before Mitch Trubisky would drop back to pass, ultimately finding linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski in the end zone for a score. The Bears had to burn a timeout to make sure the play was executed correctly — with Amukamara running four, not two, times along the line — but it wound up working to give them an 11-point advantage at a critical point in the game.
“(Amukamara) said he’s the most in shape person on the team,” Trubisky said. “I guess that’s why we used him there. Great distraction, big two-point conversion and heck of a catch by Kwit.”
The play brings the total of Bears defensive players to receive a snap on offense this season to eight: Amukamara, Kwiatkoski, Akiem Hicks, Bilal Nichols, Roy Robertson-Harris, Jonathan Bullard, Bruce Callahan and Eddie Jackson. The Bears, too, ran plays in the regular season called “Willy Wonka,” “Oompa Loompa” and “Lollipop,” in addition to “Santa’s Sleigh,” “Papa Bear Left,” and “Freezer Left.”
“Freezer Left” — Hicks’ touchdown run against the New York Giants — and now “Lollipop” have resulted in defensive players scoring points on offense. Kwiatkoski said he played running back in high school, which would’ve been the last time he had to make a catch like he did in the end zone on Sunday.
“I’m really happy for the dude,” tight end Trey Burton said. “Great catch, back shoulder, and made a really big play for us.”
On a Wim(s)
With Allen Robinson inactive due to a ribs injury, and Anthony Miller (shoulder) and Taylor Gabriel (ribs) both exiting the game, Javon Wims and Kevin White saw significant action on Sunday. While White only had one catch, it was an impressive 22-yard snag on third down.
Wims, though, played a critical role in the Bears’ 16-play, 75-yard scoring drive that chewed up more than nine minutes of clock in the third and fourth quarter. His tough nine-yard snag on third and seven from the Vikings’ 17 set up Tarik Cohen’s touchdown, which after “Lollipop” put the Bears up by 11.
“There’s a reason he’s not on (the practice squad), because someone would’ve claimed him immediately,” Burton said.
Wims finished the game with four catches for 32 yards, his first catches and first yards as a pro after being drafted in the seventh round back in April.
“He had four catches on four targets. It shows who we are,” Nagy said. “He’s been having a great season in regards to just being able to learn in practice. You can watch him growing every day. I think that can do so much for him – whether it’s this year or down the road – for his confidence. He’s a great kid; he works hard. The best one of the day was when he caught that third down stop route. That was a big play and he’s got that in him.”
Wims has had to be patient, biding his time while only being active for three games (Buccaneers, Jets, Bills) prior to Sunday. But he took advantage of an opportunity against the Vikings — one that won’t necessarily be there in a week, with Robinson and Gabriel seeming likely to play against the Eagles, though Miller’s status may be up in the air. Still, if the Bears do need Wims in a week, he showed good timing and trust with Trubisky, which could wind up paying off.
“It just shows our depth,” Wims said. “We’re deep at the wide receiver position. Any one of us at any given moment could step in and fill a void for the team.”
Stumping for Nagy
The Bears finishing 2018 with a 12-4 record is a remarkable achievement after going a combined 14-34 over the last three years. Nagy, then, is a favorite to win coach of the year honors — the Chargers’ Anthony Lynn, the Colts’ Frank Reich, the Seahawks’ Pete Carroll and the Chiefs’ Andy Reid will also merit consideration, too.
Depending on who you ask, the coach of the year award likely will come down to Nagy and Reich, both of whom have engineered magnificent turnarounds in Chicago and Indianapolis. But while Nagy won’t campaign for himself, he has a locker room of players who are happy to do the work for him.
“I really hope he’s the coach of the year,” Amukamara said. “I know he’s not thinking about it but we’re thinking about it for him.”