1. Jared Allen: The Minnesota Vikings pulled the best out of Allen. The veteran defensive end played his most impactful game of the season versus his old team and abused Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil the entire afternoon. Allen finished with five tackles, one sack and three quarterback hits in the Chicago Bears’ 21-13 victory. It’s been a frustrating year for Allen. He has sacked the quarterback only 2 1/2 times after having no fewer than 11 sacks in each of his six years in Minnesota. Allen is respected in the locker room; teammates feel the defensive end still can perform at a relatively high level. Allen needs to catch a hot streak if the Bears have any shot of catapulting themselves back into playoff contention.
2. Alshon Jeffery: Jeffery is a strong candidate for a lucrative, offseason contract extension. He needs to finish strong. Jeffery proved too much for Minnesota’s secondary to handle and caught 11 passes on 17 targets for a game-high 135 yards and a touchdown. Jeffery has one of the strongest sets of hands in the NFL. After three straight quiet games, Jeffery and quarterback Jay Cutler established a rhythm. Jeffery is too good to have been posting the average numbers he did in losses to Miami, New England and Green Bay.
3. Brandon Marshall: Marshall dominated the Vikings. He simply outmuscled the Minnesota defensive back on his second touchdown reception. The real Brandon Marshall showed up the past two weeks. Marshall is an older player, but he’s big and strong enough to continue having a major impact on game days. His statistics are still too low (49 catches for 586 yards and eight touchdowns), but things are slowly moving in the right direction.
1. Special teams: It’s just one of those years. Automatic place-kicker Robbie Gould slightly misjudges the wind and pushes a 47-yard field goal attempt wide right. Minnesota surprises the Bears with a successful fake punt. Rookie punter Pat O'Donnell averages 29.5 yards on two kicks. And the penalties keep piling up. Does that cover it for Week 11?
2. Clock management: I still have no idea what happened at the end of the first half. My best guess is the Bears were afraid to turn the ball over and lose the 14-10 lead going into halftime. The turnover eventually happened (Cutler interception), albeit after the coaching staff put the offense in a bad spot.
3. Marc Trestman’s press conferences: This is what happens when a guy is blasted from coast to coast. Can you truly blame Trestman for shutting it down with the media? Say what want about Trestman’s coaching style, I used to enjoy his press conferences. Trestman gave insightful and sincere answers, even if you disagreed with the message. Trestman never backed down from a tough question, unlike his predecessor, who acted insulted when a reporter asked about a sensitive issue. That’s all over now. Trestman isn’t giving much anymore -- another casualty of this wasted season.