Subplots dominate Bears finale

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Will Marc Trestman still be the Bears coach Monday?

Will Marc Trestman still be the Bears coach Monday?

The future of Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman and General Manager Phil Emery hung over the disappointment of another Bears loss, this time a low-scoring 13-9 defeat to NFC North rival Minnesota. The loss dropped the Bears to a 5-11 record, their worst mark since former coach Lovie Smith’s first season back in 2004.

The meaningless contest was a snapshot of the Bears season. Chicago was unable to cash in on red-zone opportunities, instead having to settle for three Jay Feely field goals. The defense lapsed at crucial times, allowing the g0-ahead score on a 44-yard touchdown pass against blown coverage between defenders Tim Jennings,  Demontre Hurst, and Brock Vereen. And once again, penalties and poor execution plagued an offense that began the season with high expectations and instead finished  going scoreless in the first half in 11 games.

If that’s not enough to inspire change at Halas Hall, nothing will. The Bears finished on a five-game losing streak in which they were seldom competitive and virtually impotent on offense. Whether Chairman George McCaskey sees it that way or not remains to be seen. Trestman for his part said after the game that he expects to be back for 2015. Few Bears observers can conclude the same.

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In Sunday’s contest, QB Jay Cutler remained mistake-free, but took few chances downfield. The Bears relegated themselves to a dink-and-dunk offense over the final half of the season, preferring to rely on screen passes and swing passes that counted on receivers making tacklers miss rather than challenging defenses downfield.

Cutler finished 23-of-36 for just 172 yards. His primary receiver was running back Matt Forte, who set a ne

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w NFL record for receptions by a back with 102. Forte caught 8 passes for a pedestrian 23-yards and also rushed for 51-yards on 17 carries. TE Martellus Bennett provided the Bears their lone downfield threat, grabbing 8 balls for 59-yards.

Defensively, rookie CB Kyle Fuller finished the season strong, picking off Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater and nearly returning it for a touchdown. Fellow rookie Christian Jones also flashed, collecting 7 tackles unofficially, while second-year LB Jon Bostic led the team with 11 stops.

All in all, it wasn’t enough, and now the powers-that-be must take action before the Bears nosedive further.

Paw Prints: The Bears loss secured the seventh overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft, to be held April 30 in Chicago….Chicago’s opponents are set for next season. HOME: Packers, Lions, Vikings, Cardinals, 49ers, Redskins, Broncos, Raiders. AWAY: Packers, Lions, Vikings, Rams, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Chargers, Chiefs…..Jay Feely accounted for the Bears points Sunday, kicking 48, 25, and 35-yarders. Feely missed from 43-yards….Second-year DE Cornelius Washington was carted off with an apparent knee injury late in the fourth quarter.

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