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Mental errors derail offense again

The Bears were the Bears to the very end.Two plays into their season finale against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, Jay Cutler had to call time out. Two plays later, Jermon Bushrod was called for a false start. The Bears regrouped — and were penalized for delay of game.Suddenly, a second-and-one that should have kicked Marc Trestman’s offense into gear became a second-and-11. Two plays later Pat O’Donnell punted and the Bears offense was on its way to the kind of inefficient and unproductive performance that exemplified all the disappointment of a 5-11 season. It was all too familiar.“We had opportunities,” Bushrod said. “It starts with myself. Second-and-one, I can’t get antsy and jump offsides. That’s stupid. That’s dumb on my part.“As a whole we’ve just got to finish. Our defense gave us opportunities. Special teams gave us field position and we couldn’t put seven on the board to save our life.”’s lament said it all for an offense that is at the root of the unpleasantness of a miserable season that has Trestman’s future in doubt. No. 1 on the list of fireable offenses is his offense taking a gigantic step backward when it was supposed to take a quantum leap forward.The Bears were eighth in total offense (382 yards per game) and second in scoring (27.8 points per game) in Trestman’s first season. They entered Sunday’s finale 20th in total offense (331 yards) and 21st in scoring (20.7 points). And after the 264-yard, nine-point effort against the Vikings didn’t help their average.“Mind-boggling,” said Kyle Long, the Pro Bowl guard who was a rare bright spot for the offense this season. “The mistakes that happened offensively — all across the board. You can’t win like that.”The offensive discombobulation that haunted the Bears all season was on full display against the Vikings. Seven of the Bears’ eight penalties were on offense, including six pre-snap penalties. The four false-starts gave the Bears 28 for the season. Last year they had nine — suggesting that the coaching staff failed to instill the discipline that anchored the offense last season.“That’s discipline, it all plays a part,” Bushrod said. “We have to be better in those aspects, starting with myself. We can’t have pre-snap mental errors and have a good game. It just sucks. It sucks man. This season … it’s just been tough.”Not that it mattered, but the Bears had a chance to win the game, trailing 13-9 with 2:53 left, after Jon Bostic stopped Matt Asiata cold on a fourth-and-one play at the Bears 3-yard line. But after JCutler ran 22 yards for a first down at the Bears 25 on the first play of the drive, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery had a false start. Three plays later — after the two-minute warning — Bushrod had another false-start.“Today obviously it affected us,” center Roberto Garza said. “We had the ball at the end … and kept shooting ourselves in the foot. You can’t do that in this league. There’s been an emphasis on that all year and we just kept doing it to ourselves in tough situations like that.”That’s one big reason why Trestman and his staff are not expected to survive Black Monday. They just couldn’t get through to this group.“I’m not going to comment on the whole Black Monday thing,” Bushrod said. “I don’t like talking about people’s job security, because it’s none of my business. We just have to hope for the best. These people, they have family, they have friends who look up to them or who love the situation they’re in. I’m not going to get into it. It’s just tough.”Long didn’t want to address the uncomfortable subject either.“I’m just going in for treatment [Monday],” he said. “It’s the NFL and it’s a business — we understand that. We’re sensitive to that. Nobody know what’s going to happen. Obviously there’s a lot of stuff that’s going to be discussed [Monday]. I’m not sure what the deal is with that. I just know when our meetings are, so I intend to be there on time.”