They were even in total yardage with the Bears at 260 and the Lions at 261. Time of possession was close as well with the Bears at 30:06 and the Lions at 29:54.
The offense is noticeably better with Chris Chandler in there. His experience in the NFL is invaluable, particularly when the Bears have so many rookies on the field right now. He had 31 attempts with 20 completions for a total of 207 yards. His rating this week was 94.4. Chandler knows how to play and he is good enough to be able to prepare himself before every game. His success is definitely not due to the skill of his coaches.
There has been a lot in the press recently about the Bears quarterback problem. It isn't anything new. One reporter said that during the time that Favre has been with the Packers, the Bears have gone through 15 quarterback changes.15! It's a longstanding problem that never should have been allowed to happen. Now Dick Jauron has to bear the brunt of years of Bears management ignoring this situation.
The top quarterbacks in this league are averaging 9.6,10.1,9.0 and 8.1 yards. Chandler is not at that level right now, but he is doing enough to get this team to win. It wouldn't surprise me if I heard that he had been creating many of his own plays. He made excellent use yesterday of the rookies and of TE Dustin Lyman. That type of play seems more creative than anything John Shoop could have come up with.
The offense is showing steady improvement from game to game. Since Shoop has moved to the press box area, he seems to be getting a better picture as far as what is going on during the game. That doesn't let him off the hook however. His play calling is far from creative. Look at the total number of first downs, 14. The offense has a long way to go before becomes a real threat. Look where the touchdowns came from. One was an interception, one was Azumah's kick off return, and the third was Gage's end zone catch.
The biggest problem that I still see is an overall lack of preparation, which is the fault of the coaches. In the first half there were only 4 Bears first downs until the two-minute drill when they were able to get 3 first downs and the Edinger field goal. The second half was slightly better, as it has tended to be throughout the season. This all falls on the coaches. It looks as if the Bears are learning each week while they are on the field during a game. That's never an optimal situation.
Defensively, the Bears have been plagued by injuries. I still find fault with the management letting the big men on the DL go. These were the guys who were protecting Urlacher. Urlacher is a wonderful player. He is fast and smart but he has to have the chance to get loose. The protection that he needs simply isn't there.
Injuries have continued to be a problem. At least Metcalf is back now, but why was he out for so long with a broken finger? That just doesn't make sense. And Marc Colombo? He has been out for two seasons. He's a first round pick. Either use him or cut him. It's going to be interesting to me to see how long the coaches are going to keep the players out who are injured right now.
So where do the Bears go from here? Build on this win. It was a good effort overall and I congratulate the team again. They definitely showed some real character. The rookies rose to the occasion and produced when they needed to. The team scored 24 points and was able to hold off the Lions during the fourth quarter.
But there are a lot of areas where improvement is still needed. Do something about the coaching, particularly on offense. Prepare the players for the game ahead of time. Get some creative play calling. Protect Urlacher so he isn't scrambling for his life on every play. Don't keep the injured players out so long. It was great to get a win, but there is a lot of work still to be done.