MINNEAPOLIS — The Chicago Bears entered Week 17 with little to play for against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. With the Los Angeles Rams expected to beat the San Francisco 49ers handily (and they did), the Bears were cemented as the 3-seed.

What was important for me, though, was to see Mitch Trubisky play a strong game on the road against a desperate team fighting for its playoff life in a very hostile environment. Couple that with the fact that this was against a familiar divisional opponent, and it raised the difficulty level that much more.

His performance was important for me to see and evaluate because the Bears had played uneven football on the road for much of the year, despite entering yesterday with a 4-3 road record — very respectable. But with the Bears’ road to the Super Bowl to take them to at least LA and possibly New Orleans, they needed to show they could play well on the road in a tough game — especially on offense with their young, inexperienced quarterback.

While the box score didn’t look wonderful, Trubisky balled out yesterday, killing the Vikings on third downs with clutch throw after clutch throw:

I grade his performance in detail below. If you’re not familiar with my grading system or grade ranges, see this article where I introduced it to refresh yourself on it. Also, see my grade for him from last week against San Francisco as well.

If you want to continue the conversation, follow me on Twitter @DhruvKoul to discuss. Here we go with the grading:

FIRST DRIVE

Expected throw to Trey Burton (+9 yards).

Drive Summary: +0 points

SECOND DRIVE

Expected throw to Javon Wims (+4 yards).
Poor throw intended for Trey Burton (Incomplete).

Drive Summary: -1 points

THIRD DRIVE

Very Good throw to Kevin White (+22 yards).
Expected throw to Taylor Gabriel (+8 yards).
Solid throw to Josh Bellamy (+2 yards — had to avoid rush, contort body, and put it in a tough spot).
Expected throw to Taylor Gabriel (+9 yards).

Drive Summary: +3 points

FOURTH DRIVE

Expected throw to Taylor Gabriel (+4 yards).
Expected throw to Trey Burton (+6 yards).
Expected throw to Javon Wims (+3 yards).
Expected throw to Trey Burton (+1 yards).
Poor throw to Josh Bellamy (Incomplete).
Poor throw to Josh Bellamy (Incomplete).
Big Time throw to Taylor Gabriel (+41 yards).

Drive Summary: +1 points

FIFTH DRIVE

Expected throw to Josh Bellamy (Incomplete).

Drive Summary: +0 points

SIXTH DRIVE

No throws from Trubisky, end of half.

Drive Summary: +0 points

SEVENTH DRIVE

Expected throw to Tarik Cohen (+3 yards).
Poor throw to Jordan Howard (Incomplete).
Expected throw to Jordan Howard (+25 yards, called back due to penalty).
Expected throw to Tarik Cohen (+9 yards).

Drive Summary: -1 points

EIGHTH DRIVE

Solid throw to Kevin White (Incomplete).
Trubisky scramble (+5 yards).
Trubisky scramble (+12 yards).
Solid throw to Josh Bellamy (Incomplete).
Very Good throw to Javon Wims (+16 yards).
Poor throw to Tarik Cohen (Incomplete).
Trubisky sacked (Defensive penalty negated it).
Solid throw to Trey Burton (+9 yards).
Expected throw to Trey Burton (+8 yards).
Very Good throw to Javon Wims (+9 yards).
Solid throw to Nick Kwiatkoski (2-PT conversion).

Drive Summary: +8.75 points

NINTH DRIVE

No throws from Trubisky.

Drive Summary: +0 points

TENTH DRIVE

Poor throw to Kevin White (Incomplete).

Drive Summary: -1 points

END OF GAME TOTAL: +9.75 POINTS

GAME GRADE: A-

SUMMARY: Trubisky was exceptional yesterday when it mattered most, killing the Vikings on third downs throughout the game with a large part of the damage coming on the fateful 16 play drive that burned nine minutes off the clock and resulted in a touchdown to put the game roughly away at 21-10. What was beautiful about that drive was it was right after the Vikings had come down the field and scored a touchdown to put them within 13-10 and give them life after a dreadful first half. He responded brilliantly to that adversity.

He did it on the road, against a good defense and team fighting for its playoff life and in a hostile environment. He has some things to clean up with his mechanics that resulted in some off-kilter throws, but he didn’t put the ball in harm’s way (again) and took control of the game. In short, he was awesome.

That’s three straight incredibly strong games for the Bears’ young quarterback headed into the playoffs. Let’s hope he can build on it as the pressure increases dramatically.