The Bears kicker made all four field goals he attempted from 42, 35, 48 and 42 yards in a pulsating 33-27 win over the Vikings in Minnesota. Santos has now connected on his last 22 field goals, last missing in a Week 3 win in Atlanta.
"He's having a special season," quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said after the Bears improved to 7-7 with their second straight win. "He was clutch for us today. Those field goals are huge, and he hit every single one of them."
Santos has converted 25-of-27 field-goal tries this year, a 92.6 percent success rate that would be the best in Bears history. His streak of 22 straight field goals is the second longest in team history behind Robbie Gould's 26, set from Dec. 25, 2005-Nov. 19, 2006.
"I've just got to know when we pass the 50 and when we're down in the red zone to be smart to continue to give him those opportunities to put points on the board for us," Trubisky said. "He's doing a great job. We're really proud of him and the whole special-teams unit."
Sack attack: Robert Quinn ended his sack drought early in the second quarter with a third-down strip/sack of Kirk Cousins. Vikings left tackle Riley Reiff recovered the fumble, but Minnesota was forced to punt. It was Quinn's first sack since his first play with the Bears in a Week 2 win over the Giants.
The Bears recorded three sacks as a team, with Bilal Nichols registering one and Khalil Mack and Brent Urban splitting another. Nichols, a 2018 fifth-round pick from Delaware, has now generated one sack in each of the last three games, increasing his season total to a career-high 5.0.
Next men up: The Bears played without starting cornerback Jaylon Johnson (shoulder), nickel back Buster Skrine (concussion) and reserve safety Deon Bush (foot) due to injuries.
Rookie fifth-round pick Kindle Vildor registered five tackles in place of Johnson, while second-year pro Duke Shelley recorded seven tackles in place of Skrine. Shelley made a pair of key stops one yard short of a first down— on a Cousins run and a Dalvin Cook reception—on drives that concluded with the Vikings failing to convert fourth-and-1 plays.
"We had a couple guys out today and I thought the young guys came in and played well," said coach Matt Nagy.
Catch this: Allen Robinson II led the Bears in receiving yards for the 12th straight game with 83 yards on four receptions. With a 35-yard catch Sunday, Robinson now has a reception of at least 20 yards in 12 consecutive contests.
Key stat: The Bears converted 6-of-12 third-down opportunities (50 percent) against a Vikings defense that entered Week 15 ranked fifth in the NFL on third down, allowing a success rate of 37.0 percent.
"These guys are unbelievable on third down," Nagy said. "One of the things we said all week long was, 'If we win third down, we will have a great chance of winning this game.' It looks like we were 6-for-12 on third down against this defense, and I'll take that every day of the week."
The Bears converted 6-of-6 third downs on their three touchdown drives. Trubisky accounted for five of those conversions: with a 24-yard pass to Robinson on third-and-3; runs of one yard on third-and-1 and seven yards on third-and-2; and completions of 16 yards to David Montgomery on third-and-4 and 13 yards to Anthony Miller on third-and-11.
Rookie on the rise: With four receptions (for 49 yards and one touchdown), Darnell Mooney increased his season total to 46 catches, eclipsing Harlon Hill's record of 45 receptions by a Bears rookie wide receiver set in 1954. The franchise mark for catches by a rookie (regardless of position) belongs to running back Matt Forte, who had 63 (for 477 yards and four TDs) in 2008.
This and that: The Bears have now won three straight games in Minnesota for the first time since 1983-85 … Nagy improved his record as Bears coach to 5-1 against the Vikings … Danny Trevathan led the Bears with 11 tackles … Sherrick McManis' game-sealing interception was the third pick of his 11-year NFL career and his second in nine seasons with the Bears.
See the game unfold through the lenses of our sideline photographers as the Bears face off in a divisional matchup against the Vikings in Minnesota.