By Dan Pompei--
(CBS) No one should be surprised at what happened to the Bears on Sunday in Indianapolis, because that's exactly the kind of game a young, rebuilding, injury-wracked team loses. Inexperience and a lack of depth were evident on too many plays, and the quarterback couldn't make the difference.
Here are my observations:
1. I like the way Brian Hoyer makes a decision and gets rid of the football quickly. That helps his offensive line a lot. I also like the way he spreads the ball around to different receivers and areas of the field.
2. The bottom line on Hoyer's performance, however, is it wasn't good enough to win. And he had a chance.
3. Andrew Luck was supposed to be the next Peyton Manning. With the way his career has been going, he might turn into the next Archie Manning.
4. Cameron Meredith's fumble was unfortunate, but I think he has the potential to be good. His combination of size and athleticism is uncommon.
5. A college quarterback who came into the league at the same time as Kevin White, Meredith might be more developed than White. Meredith still is raw, but he seems to have a natural understanding of route running. He set up cornerback Patrick Robinson on his touchdown catch quite nicely.
6. It looks like the Bears will be able to absorb the loss of White better than they have been able to absorb the losses of others. In addition to Meredith, don't forget Marquess Wilson. He can start practicing next week, and my understanding is the team is expecting him to be back on the active roster soon.
7. You have to like the way Jordan Howard fights for the extra yard on the sideline. In that way, he is reminiscent of a guy who wore No. 34.
8. I'm still looking for a reason to doubt Howard can be a premier running back. Let me know if you have one. In addition to running well, Howard caught the ball and pass protected well Sunday.
9. I continue to think a lot of teams are going to regret passing on Howard last May. Nine running backs were drafted ahead of him, as I wrote about here.
10. With as many snaps as the Bears had Sunday (62), I can't fathom why Howard didn't have another five to 10 carries. He had only 16.
11. On the subject of underutilized weapons, Alshon Jeffery was the by far the highest-paid Bears player in the game. He should be given an opportunity to show why. Covered or not, Jeffery needs to be targeted at least 10 times a game.
12. It's understandable if Hoyer and Jeffery aren't in sync. They haven't worked together much. Hoyer was second string until recently, and Jeffery has missed a lot of practice time recently.
13. Bryce Callahan tackles like he's 30 pounds heavier than he is. There's a lot to like about the way he plays.
14. Robbie Gould, keep your leg loose.
Dan Pompei has been covering the NFL since 1985 and is a regular contributor to 670 The Score and a host on 670's Bears pregame show. He writes for Bleacher Report and theathletic.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan Pompei.
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