MINNEAPOLIS — The Bears’ season came to a merciful end Sunday in appropriate fashion: a 13-9 loss to the Vikings to ensure a 5-11 record and a last-place finish in the NFC North.
Now the team awaits change — in the coaching staff, administration or both. Marc Trestman’s fate will likely be decided in the next 24 hours or so.
Interestingly, chairman George McCaskey and general manager Phil Emery watched together from the owner’s box at TCF Bank Stadium.
And Marc Trestman said afterward that he expects to return for his third season.
“I don’t have to go into the reasons I expect to be back,” he said. “I couldn’t look at it any other way or with any other kind of focus.
“My plan is to continue to finalize my notes now that the season is over — and make sure that, opportunity arises, I’ll be able to explain how we fix this thing. Because we have to get better.”
Trestman said his focus is on an 11 a.m. team meeting Monday. When asked if his coaches would return, he said the team meeting is his first priority.
Starting one week after being benched, Jay Cutler was hardly inspiring Sunday. He completed 23-of-36 attempts for only 172 yards.
Up four with 3:13 to play, the Vikings faced fourth-and-inches from the Bears’ 3-yard line.
The Bears stuffed Matt Asiata, though, giving them one last shot to win the game.
Cutler started the drive with a 22-yard scramble. The Bears committed two-straight penalties, though. After a false start following two 2-minute warning, the Bears were back to third-and-19.
That’s when Matt Forte caught his eighth pass of the game, giving him the NFL record with 102 receptions, the most ever by a running back.
On fourth-and-9, Cutler’s pass to Martellus Bennett left them a yard short.
The Bears didn’t score a touchdown in the game despite starting one drive at the Vikings’ 9-yard line. Kyle Fuller intercepted Teddy Bridgewater’s second pass attempt of the second half and returned it to what was first ruled a touchdown.
Officials overturned it, saying he was down by contact at the 9. Alshon Jeffery then caught a touchdown, only for it to be overturned when he didn’t get two feet down.
The Bears settled for one of three Jay Feely field goals. He missed a fourth attempt.
Bridgewater was much improved from his last meeting with the Bears, throwing a 44-yard touchdown to Adam Thielen against a busted Bears coverage. The rookie finished with 209 passing yards on 17-of-25 attempts.