Pyle Ponders: Where's the Consistency?

For 15 minutes the offense looked like something that hasn't been seen in a Bear uniform in years. A unit that could march up and down the field at any time. However, the halftime break brought the return of an ineffective attack and that's why overtime was needed to beat the Lions.

The Bears broke some long-standing streaks Sunday, ending their five-game road game losing streak and finally winning a game in a dome. While I wouldn't rush out and buy a Super Bowl, or even a playoff ticket just yet, much of what I saw on the field was better than I had expected and really quite encouraging.

The offensive production was where it should have been all along this season. Kyle Orton looked good and seems to be maturing well from game to game as he gains experience.

The only thing that bothered me was the overall lack of consistency. If you look at the quarter by quarter stats, you'll see uneven production offensively. The 3-of-14 on third down is troubling. They need to get consistent yardage throughout the entire game and keep the drives going. Hopefully this will come sooner rather than later.

Thomas Jones looked good until he got hurt. That's his second injury in three games. I was concerned about what happened to him Sunday as quite often something involving ribs takes quite a while to heal. But if Cedric Benson can step in and produce, things might not be so bad if Jones' carries are limited.

Once Jones went out of the game for good due to injury, the first running back on the field was Adrian Peterson. I like Peterson, but I found myself wondering once more, where in the heck is Benson. Then low and behold, Benson came into the game in overtime. He churned right through the Lions defense and looked like the player Jerry Angelo has been telling us all along he knew Benson could be.

What did Benson bring to yesterday's game? A tremendous burst of speed and excellent power overall. And best of all, he held onto the ball. This was the first glimpse we've had of what made him the fourth overall round pick in the draft. I think that he has tremendous potential and perhaps this performance will be a springboard for his career.

Orton seemed steady but he misfired on eight straight attempts early in the second half, which clearly shows the need for further improvement.

Losing Mark Bradley was a definite problem as he had been coming along extremely well. The way he went down, as his knee twisted was a horrifying sight. Unfortunately it's s season ending injury for Bradley and a major blow to the downfield threat of the passing game.

Replacing Bradley with Justin Gage doesn't have the same punch, but at this point you need players to step up when a starter goes down. Gage started earlier in the season and didn't produce. Hopefully this time around he'll be able to take some pressure off Muhsin Muhammad.

The defense was consistently strong and finally, Alex Brown got his first sack of the season. Although the Lions had a longer time of possession, the Bears defense was able to, for the most part, contain Jeff Garcia.

The secondary put together a solid game. Obviously Charles Tillman's game-winning interception was the pivotal point in the game.

Special teams had some unnecessary penalties, but also limited what Eddie Drummond did when he touched the ball.

One further note before I go. I'd like to acknowledge a great Bears player and a former teammate of mine, Doug Atkins, whose number is going to be retired at the University of Tennessee in a few weeks. Doug was the prototypical football player, a tough guy in every sense of the word who always left it all out on the field. Congratulations and best wishes, Doug. You deserve it.

Mike Pyle played for the Bears from 1961-69, including a Pro Bowl selection following the '63 season.

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