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Bears drop fifth straight to end season


MINNEAPOLIS – The costly penalties and mistakes that have regularly killed drives and kept the Bears from scoring all year plagued them once again in Sunday's season finale.

In a 13-9 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the Bears failed to produce a touchdown for the first time in two seasons under coach Marc Trestman. They instead settled for three Jay Feely field goals, with two coming after they had started drives at the Minnesota 9 and 35.

"Offensively, we didn't get it done," Trestman said. "It was clear. We had opportunities on the other side of the field. We weren't able to convert. We weren't able to get the ball down the field. We stopped ourselves on too many occasions and we certainly didn't get the ball in the end zone."

View photos from the game as the Bears take on the Vikings in Minnesota.

The Bears committed four false starts and two delay-of-game penalties, which contributed to a 27 percent success rate on third down (4-of-15).

"We were kind of shooting ourselves in the foot like we've been doing the entire year, which is something that needs to change if we want to continue to play in this league and win some games," said running back Kyle Long. "It's just boneheaded mistakes, and it happens to all of us."

About the only good news Sunday was generated by Forte, whose eight receptions gave him 102 for the season, breaking Larry Centers' record of 101 for the most by an NFL running back.

Back in the starting lineup one week after getting benched, Jay Cutler completed 23 of 36 passes for 172 yards with no interceptions and a 75.2 passer rating.

With Sunday's defeat, the Bears (5-11) finished the season in last place in the NFC North for the first time since 2007, went 1-5 in the division, ended the year with five straight losses for the first time since 1989 and failed to score at least 30 points in a game for the first time since 2004.

After compiling 445 points last season, they managed just 319 this year.

"We all regressed," Trestman said. "I regressed. Our offense regressed dramatically for a number of reasons. I don't think any of us got better. That certainly showed the last couple weeks. We didn't get better, and that's something that has to be assessed moving forward."

With the score tied 3-3 early in the third quarter, Kyle Fuller intercepted a Teddy Bridgewater pass and returned it 31 yards to the Minnesota 9. But the Bears mustered just two yards on three plays before taking a 6-3 lead on Feely's 25-yard field goal.

The Vikings responded immediately as Bridgewater lofted a 44-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Adam Thielen, who took advantage of a blown coverage to give Minnesota a 10-6 lead.

After Blair Walsh's 44-yard field goal widened the margin to 13-6 early in the fourth quarter, Marc Mariani returned the ensuing kickoff 67 yards to the Minnesota 35. But the Bears once again could only produce a field goal, cutting the deficit to 13-9.

Asked if the mistakes the Bears made Sunday were a microcosm of their season, Trestman said: "I think that's fair. When I think about our season I think about so many times that we have stopped ourselves crossing the 50-yard line whether it's through penalties, a turnover, whatever it might be. A lot of things that happened today offensively have stopped us during the course of the season."

With the Bears losing eight of their final 10 games after a 3-3 start, most of the talk following Sunday's contest concerned the changes that are expected to be made as early as Monday.

"I don't think anyone knows what's going to happen," Cutler said. "No one knows what direction we're going, but I'm pretty confident we will know relatively soon. I don't think it's something that is going to drag out."

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