By Dan Pompei–
(CBS) Football is a game of momentum shifts. And the momentum shifted on the Bears’ season late in the third quarter and early in the fourth Sunday when they turned a one-point lead into an 11-point lead on a Zach Miller touchdown and a Connor Barth field goal in an eventual 17-14 win against the Lions. Even though there were many no-shows at Soldier Field, the place came alive more than it has in a long time. Funny how the mood went from pregame despair to hope and jubilation so quickly. But that’s football.
Here are my observations from the game:
1. There isn’t much that Brian Hoyer has done poorly since he’s been playing. And that may be why he could continue playing, regardless of Jay Cutler’s thumb.
2. Forget the numbers. Hoyer was poised and controlled. For the most part, he reacted to pressure calmly and read coverages well. He gave his team a chance to win.
3. Dowell Loggains had a smart game plan and called a good game. It’s a lot easier to do that when the lead back averages 4.8 yards per run and pounds out 111 yards.
4. It doesn’t take long to see a running back has it when he really has it. Jordan Howard can play for me anytime.
5. If Howard can take a pounding over time and if he can develop as a pass protector and receiver, he can become an excellent running back.
6. For a 230-pounder, Howard has some make-you-miss in him.
7. The Bears offensive linemen are growing comfortable with assignments and one another. The result is more confidence and aggression. There’s no doubt the line is improving.
8. On his four-yard touchdown catch, Eddie Royal looked like he was Alshon Jeffery.
9. Royal has been the most consistent player on the Bears offense through the first quarter of the season.
10. The offense was more efficient, but the Lions defense was more cooperative than any defense the Bears have played so far. More difficult tests await.
11. When did Adrian Amos become Doug Plank?
12. The Lions had better change their snap counts the next time they play the Bears. As Jonathan Timu’s tackle for a loss on the 1-yard line showed, the Bears knew when the snap was coming.
13. The Bears defense earned a measure of respect for resourcefulness and grit, especially late in the game. By that time, Tracy Porter and Leonard Floyd had joined Jonathan Bullard, Eddie Goldman, Danny Trevathan, Pernell McPhee, Lamarr Houston and Kyle Fuller on the sideline. Without those eight players who would likely have been on the field a lot, the Bears defense limited the Lions to 52 yards and zero offensive points in the fourth quarter — with the game on the line.
14. That defensive performance also was a great reflection on coaching by Vic Fangio and his staff — both from the standpoint of game planning and player development.
15. It’s starting to look like the Bears have found a couple players in their secondary in Bryce Callahan and Harold Jones-Quartey. Maybe a third in Deiondre’ Hall, maybe a fourth in Jacoby Glenn.
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.