By Dan Pompei–
(CBS) Sunday brought an appropriate conclusion to a painful Bears season, as they finished 3-13 after a 38-10 loss to the Vikings. The offseason couldn’t come soon enough for the Bears, and they played like it.
Here are my observations:
1. I’ve seen a lot of good rookie running backs in my time covering the Bears, especially Neal Anderson and Matt Forte. Jordan Howard is as impressive as any of them.
2. The Vikings couldn’t stop Howard. And on Sunday, Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains didn’t either.
3. The Bears finally got the run/pass ratio right in their last try, but even that couldn’t help them get the takeaway/giveaway ratio right.
3. Cam Meredith was the best surprise of the season. There wasn’t a soul alive who thought he would lead the Bears in catches and receiving yards.
4. Did it dawn on anyone that Meredith may have been the best quarterback on the active roster?
5. If Matt Barkley was going to throw to covered receivers, he should have thrown it to Alshon Jeffery — no one else.
6. In the four games after Jeffery’s suspension, he averaged four catches for 59 yards per game. He caught one touchdown pass. That’s a worse reflection on Barkley than Jeffery.
7. In his last 10 quarters of football, Barkley turned the ball over 11 times and made a strong argument for unemployment. He just completely fell apart after an encouraging start.
8. Barkley played like he was getting coached on ball protection skills by Jay Cutler.
9. Tracy Porter conducted himself like a pro all season — right up until the point he overslept for the last game. Overslept? Really?
10. The Bears need corners and safeties. But not just any corners and safeties. They need corners and safeties who have a history of making plays on the football.
12. The pass rush really faded down the stretch. No sacks in the last two games. And no sacks in four of their last seven games.
13. Firing John Fox wouldn’t help the big picture progress of the organization. He needs more time to establish his program.
14. If you are looking for hope, here it is. Five teams that finished below .500 last year made the playoffs. The Cowboys were 4-12 last season and finished this season tied for the best record in football at 13-3. The lesson: Teams can reverse course quickly in the NFL. Even the Bears.
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.