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Rapid Reaction: Chicago Bears

12/28/2014

MINNEAPOLIS -- A few thoughts on the Chicago Bears' 13-9 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium.

What it means: The season is mercifully over. With team matriarch Virginia McCaskey and team chairman George McCaskey in attendance, the Bears' record dropped to a disappointing 5-11, the franchise's worst single-season finish since 2004 (also 5-11). Embattled head coach Marc Trestman awaits word on his future after posting a futile 13-19 record in two years on the job. For weeks, Trestman refused to directly answer questions related to job security, but ESPN.com’s Michael Wright reported Sunday morning that at least three assistant coaches expect to be fired. Now it’s only a matter of time before the general public learns Trestman’s fate.

General manager Phil Emery’s future is unknown. Emery hit on recent draft picks Alshon Jeffery, Kyle Long and Kyle Fuller, but he’s responsible for two colossal blunders: hiring Trestman and awarding quarterback Jay Cutler a lucrative contract extension. Emery watched Sunday's game in a private suite alongside the McCaskey family.

Stock watch: Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is not a popular figure in Chicago. However, the defense turned out to be the least dysfunctional of the club’s three groups. Tucker’s defense limited Minnesota to three points and 118 total yards of offense in the first half. On multiple occasions throughout the year, the defense did enough to keep the Bears in games, only to be let down by the offense. Sunday was no exception. Fuller's early third-quarter interception, and subsequent return, gave the offense the football at the Vikings’ 9-yard line. Sadly, the Bears had to settle for a field goal.

Eventually, the defense made its share of mistakes in the second half -- including a busted coverage on Adam Thielen’s 44-yard touchdown reception -- but the effort was evident. The Bears even stopped Minnesota on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line.

Trestman’s offense predictably struggled in Week 17, even with Cutler back at quarterback in place of concussed Jimmy Clausen. The Vikings' 15th-ranked total defense stymied the Bears for much of the afternoon. The Bears end 2014 without scoring more than 28 points in a single game.

Forte milestones: Bears tailback Matt Forte passed Larry Centers for the most single-season receptions by a running back (102). Forte also topped the 1,000-yard rushing plateau for the third consecutive season and the fifth time in his seven-year NFL career.

Game ball: In a lost year, Forte again proved to be one of the most versatile all-purpose tailbacks in the league, topping the Bears in rushing yards and catches. His current contract is set to expire following the 2015 season, meaning Forte’s agent is likely to press the Bears for another extension in the offseason.

What’s next: The Bears return home to Lake Forest, Illinois, for exit physicals and one final team meeting on Monday. While the team is scheduled to hold an open locker room period Monday for reporters, the Bears have not released any further media information.