As Trestman, players face uncertain future, Bears fall 13-9 to Vikings to finish 5-11

bug


We also have more stories about:
(click the phrases to see a list)

People:

Organizations:

Subjects:

Places:

 


MINNEAPOLIS — Marc Trestman wouldn't acknowledge the widespread belief he won't be back as coach of the Chicago Bears.

He expressed pride in the effort by the players in the season-ending loss at Minnesota. He acknowledged again the frustration of persistent failures. He even said he expects to return in 2015.

But another off day by the offense didn't do Trestman's resume any favors.

Teddy Bridgewater threw the go-ahead 44-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen in the third quarter, guiding the Vikings to a 13-9 victory on Sunday to put one more blemish on a forgettable year for the Bears.

"My plan is to continue to finalize my notes now that the season is over and make sure that when the opportunity arises I'll be able to explain how to fix this thing," Trestman said, "because we have to get better."

That much is true for the Bears (5-11), who finished with their worst record in 10 years. Trestman's status was much murkier.

"All I know right now is we've got a meeting tomorrow at 11 o'clock with the team, and we'll move forward from there," Trestman said.

Jay Cutler returned from a one-game benching with 172 yards on 23-for-36 passing without a fumble or an interception, but he rarely threw long and the offense managed only 264 yards behind a series of unforced errors. The Bears had eight penalties for 50 yards.

Cutler, for his part, spoke to the uncertainty surrounding not only the coaching staff but his own status.

"It's part of the game. That's kind of how it is. I'd like to be back. I said that a couple weeks ago. But whatever happens, we'll deal with it then and make plans accordingly," said Cutler, who finished turnover-free for only the third time in 15 games this season.

Blair Walsh kicked two field goals and backup Audie Cole had 14 total tackles for the Vikings (7-9), who ended coach Mike Zimmer's first year on a winning note.

After the Vikings drove to the 3-yard line late in the game, Matt Asiata was stuffed for no gain on the same play on both third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 to give Cutler and the Bears one last opportunity with 2:53 left and a four-point deficit.

They bungled it, metaphorically for this mess of a season. Three flags, including two false starts, plus an incompletion doomed the drive.

"We all regressed. I regressed. Our offense regressed dramatically for a number of reasons," Trestman said.

Alshon Jeffery had only two catches for 34 yards after totaling 23 receptions, 384 yards and three touchdowns over the past two games against the Vikings. Without Brandon Marshall to attract attention elsewhere, the Vikings led by cornerback Xavier Rhodes had Jeffery well under control.

The bright spot for the Bears? Matt Forte had eight receptions, giving him an NFL-running-back-record 102 for the season to pass Larry Centers. Forte, with a modest 51 yards on 17 carries, also topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the fifth time in seven years.

Forte deferred credit to his teammates, reluctant to express excitement about the record given the circumstances. He affirmed a question afterward about whether the offense became too predictable.

"Sometimes we would line up in a formation that we had run a specific play out of a few more times than we should have. Defenses are smart. They watch film, they read their keys and they know stuff like that," Forte said.

Kyle Fuller reached the end zone with an interception return early in the third quarter, but the replay revealed his knee was down at the 9-yard line.

That was the second of three touchdowns, two by the Bears, overruled by an official review. The Bears had to settle for the second of three field goals by Jay Feely, who later missed a 43-yard try.

Then Bridgewater was in a rhythm, connecting with Thielen for 22 yards and finding him wide open for the score on the ensuing play and a 10-6 lead when he beat Fuller and safety Brock Vereen was too late to help during a miscommunicated coverage.

NOTES: Forte took the record from Larry Centers, who had 101 catches for Arizona in 1995. Forte also topped 1,000-yard rushing mark for the fifth time in seven years. ... Cole had an interception negated by an offside penalty on Corey Wootton, who spent the past four seasons with the Bears.


AP NFL websites: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

All content copyright ©2014 Daily Journal, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Click here to read our privacy policy.