In Sunday's season finale in Minnesota, Mitchell Trubisky hopes to show the Vikings that he's taken major strides since making his first NFL start against them 12 weeks ago.
"Just from the experience I've gotten since the last time we played them hopefully the game will slow down for me a little bit," said the Bears rookie quarterback. "I'll be able to see things a little better and then just open up in the pass game more.
"But it's going to be up to us on offense just to go out there and execute because they've got a really good defense. We just have to go out there and execute, play our game plan, keep our defense off the field and convert and find ways to score."
The Vikings defense enters Week 17 ranked first in the NFL in total yards allowed, second against the run and second versus the pass.
In Trubisky's first NFL start in a 20-17 loss to Minnesota Oct. 6 at Soldier Field, he completed 12 of 25 passes for 128 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a 60.1 passer rating while also rushing for 22 yards on three carries.
Trubisky turned a 17-9 deficit into a 17-17 tie with a 20-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Miller coupled with a two-point conversion run by the quarterback on a trick play. But the rookie threw a late interception that led to Kai Forbath's winning 26-yard field goal with :12 remaining.
Bears photographer Jacob Funk chose his best pictures from the Bears game against the Browns on Christmas Eve at Soldier Field.
Asked what the Vikings will see from Trubisky in Sunday's rematch, coach John Fox said: "I think they'll be impressed. I think they'll see some of the things they saw in that first game. He's probably seen a little bit more defense since that time. We're doing a little bit more with him.
"They're a very, very good defense. They're No. 1 in probably four of the five main categories of defense. At their place on a fast track, that'll be a stiff challenge no doubt, no different than it was here months ago in his first start. I think both teams have kind of grown and changed along the way."
Since his first start against the Vikings, Trubisky feels that he's grown "in every area; leadership, just reading defenses, preparation, how to carry yourself as a pro and just getting comfortable within this offense is probably the main thing. Just letting the game slow down and just playing instead of thinking."
On the season, he has completed 59.9 percent of his passes for a Bears rookie record 2,015 yards with seven TDs, seven interceptions and a 78.5 passer rating. The second overall pick in the draft has also rushed for 246 yards and two touchdowns on 40 carries.
"I do believe that he's gotten better in every game that we've played," said offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. "I expect him to take another step this week. Sometimes statistically, you can't judge just based on what happens, but it's a game inside the game; the things that are happening, how he's handling the sideline, how he's making adjustments.
"It's going to be another awesome challenge. It's a good front seven. It's the No. 1 defense in the NFL. I expect him to go out and play well and continue on the path that he has."
The Bears are now able to use much more of the playbook with Trubisky than they were when he was just taking over the offense.
"We've expanded it; we definitely have," Loggains said. "And he's doing more at the line of scrimmage now with protection checks and audibles. We're able to do some more check-with-me stuff. We're not where we'd like to be still yet. But he's done a really good job of handling all that stuff.
"Each week, we've put just giving him a little bit more and more and more and sometimes at practice we give him a lot and we see how handles it and if he handles it well we run it in the game. If not, then we'll save it and keep working on it. It's just a process that even though you might not use it the game, the experience of doing that stuff will help him long term."