The Bears failed to solve any of the great issues plaguing their offense throughout the 2019 season during Sunday's meaningless season-ending victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
They have all offseason now to do this.
Eddy Pineiro's 22-yard field goal with 10 seconds left handed the Bears a 21-19 victory, and at least they were able to say they didn't have a losing season at 8-8.
"We have guys that fight," Bears coach Matt Nagy said. "It's (.500) not where we want to be, it's not acceptable. We know that, but we're going to learn from this."
Pineiro kicked four short field goals because their offense got into the end zone only once in five red-zone trips against Vikings reserves. The uneven effort typified their offense on the season.
"We had ups, we had downs," Tarik Cohen said. "We just couldn't get really consistent on the offensive side."
They experienced the big mistake with a strip sack of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in the fourth quarter to set up a Vikings go-ahead field goal. They also had a failed fourth-down gamble by Nagy on Trubisky's failed quarterback sneak, giving the Vikings the chance to get back into the game after tailing 18-6.
In the end, after blowing the 12-point lead they still won because they did just enough and because Trubisky did what he needed to do to get them into scoring position.
Trubisky rolled right and on the run found wide receiver Riley Ridley crossing the field for a 32-yard reception on fourth-and-9 with 2 1/2 minutes left, setting up the winning field goal.
"We just stuck together, believed and put one last drive together," Trubisky said. "I think it was important to just go out on the right note."
Trubisky went 26 of 37 for 207 yards and was sacked four times.
"I feel like we're close," Trubisky added. "I feel like we're close. I feel like we got the pieces. We just need to put it all together."
One missing piece had been the running game, but David Montgomery ran for 113 yards on 23 carries. It was the second 100-yard effort of his rookie year, as the Bears went to a power-running game out of the I-formation. He powered across on a 14-yard scrum-style run in the third quarter to get the Bears ahead 18-6.
The rushing yards were welcome, but using the I-formation isn't the Matt Nagy offense and they'll need to work at this in the offseason.
The defense did its part with three takeaways, interceptions by Kevin Pierre-Louis and Eddie Jackson and a fumble recovery by Bilal Nichols. They limited Vikings backup quarterback Sean Mannion to 12 of 21 passing for 126 yards, but did give up 148 yards rushing and a touchdown to Mike Boone.
And they also scored key points when linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski nailed Boone in the end zone on a run for a safety and an 8-3 lead. The two points later proved critical.
"I know we gave up some big runs, which you never want to do that," Kwiatkowski said. "But there were some positives–turnovers, safety, scoring that's what you want to do on defense."
The Bears didn't get some of the individual marks they hoped to achieve.
Allen Robinson came up short of 100 catches, as he made nine catches for 71 yards to finish with 98 receptions. Khail Mack didn't get a sack and finished with 8 1/2.
None of that mattered in the end. The Bears finished off a disappointing season with a Club Dub celebration following a meaningless win in a .500 season. They made their second-round draft pick come later in the round, and it's about the only meaningful thing they achieved.
It wasn't the kind of celebration they pictured back in early September for their final game of the season.
"It's been a tough year for us," Robinson said. "I think the biggest thing is everybody kept fighting.
"Looking back at the year, seeing how everything went for us, to go 8-8 I don't think we were far at all from winning 12 games or winning 13 games."