Rozner: Perfect ending to miserable Bears season
On the first series of what was probably the final game of Marc Trestman's NFL head-coaching career, the offensive guru and his quarterback reminded everyone why Bloody Monday could be one of the most brutal in Bears history.
Two Matt Forte runs got the Bears to third-and-1 on their own 29, but the play was slow getting in and Jay Cutler broke the huddle with 10 seconds on the play clock.
He stared at the defense motionless for a few seconds and then called timeout. A disgusted Cutler walked ever so slowly to sideline with palms to the air, and yelled, "The call was too late!"
When he finally got to the sideline, he barely stopped in front of Trestman long enough to cough on him, before turning around and walking away without so much as an acknowledgment that the head coach was speaking to him.
After Forte picked up the first down, he ran again for nine yards but false-start and delay-of-game penalties moved the Bears from second-and-1 to second-and-11. Forte lost two yards on the next carry and on third-and-13 a short pass to Forte picked up five yards and the Bears punted.
Your 2014 Chicago Bears in a nutshell.
That was how they began a 13-9 defeat Sunday in Minnesota that ended a woeful 5-11 season in which the offense was the overwhelming failure from beginning to end.
"We all regressed," Trestman admitted postgame. "I regressed, our offense regressed dramatically, for a number of reasons, and I don't think any of us got better. That's something that has to be assessed moving forward."
It will probably be assessed before Trestman has a chance to meet with his team at 11 a.m. Monday.
Since winning their first three in 2013, the Bears have gone 10-19, and the offense finished 2014 scoring 38 points in the last three games.
This particular game was a microcosm of everything that went wrong with the Bears, as they got the ball back with 2:53 remaining, down by 4 on their own 3.
After a Cutler scramble gained some breathing room, the Bears committed 3 penalties -- including 2 false starts to give them 4 on the day -- that put them into third-and-19 on their own 16.
"When I think about our season, I think about so many times we stopped ourselves, whether through turnovers, a penalty or whatever it might be," Trestman said. "Those are things that do resonate with me, not being able to finish drives."
A pass to Forte gave him the record for running back receptions in a season (102), but on fourth down the Vikes' three-man rush got to Cutler, and he was hit hard while completing a pass to Martellus Bennett that was far short of a first down.
Game over. Season over. Trestman era almost certainly over.
"I expect to be back," Trestman said. "I couldn't look at it any other way with any other focus.
"My plan is to continue to finalize my notes, now that this 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."
And Trestman believes he's got the answers.
"Nobody understands the situation better than I do," he said. "I've lived it every day for the last two years and certainly the last six months.
"So I think I have some expertise in that area. Putting my thoughts down, I don't think there's anybody in a better position to assess this, other than myself and Phil (Emery)."
Asked how he would testify on his own behalf, Trestman said he would not do it in front of the fans and media.
"I'm not going to stand up here and try to make a case for myself," he insisted. "I believe in what I'm doing and I believe I have the answers to help us get better. I feel strongly about that.
"I love the team and I love the players in this locker room, who I think showed a lot over the last couple weeks. With a lot of noise around the team, these guys went to work and focused.
"I'm really proud of them and really proud of our coaching staff."
After averaging 27.81 points a year ago, the Bears fell to 19.93 in 2014, and managed just 3 field goals Sunday against a Minnesota team that allowed 37 points to Miami last week.
"Offensively, we didn't get it done," Trestman said. "We weren't able to get the ball downfield. We didn't get the ball in the end zone. Had opportunities. Not good enough.
"We understand why we're here. We're here to win. That's the bottom line, win on Sunday, and we didn't do it."
The perfect ending to a perfectly miserable season.
If nothing else, at least the five-game losing streak to end the season improved the Bears' draft position and gave them an easier schedule for 2015, but as the game ended defensive coordinator Mel Tucker was in tears on the sideline.
On that accord, Bears fans were way ahead of him.
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