First-time starter Caleb Hanie threw three interceptions as the Bears fell to 7-4 with a 25-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. But coach Lovie Smith was looking at the bright side.
''[The Raiders are] a team that's leading their division,'' Smith said. ''We did some good things and some things that really hurt us. Of course, field position -- they had field position all day. We'll learn from this game. We've got a lot of football left to go. I like the way our team fought at the end. But we need to do a little bit more.''
The Bears had a season-high 401 total yards on offense against the Raiders, who came in ranked 25th in the NFL in total defense Hanie was 18-of-36 for 254 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, for a 56.9 passer rating. Next week the Bears play the Kansas City Chiefs, who are 23rd in total defense, at Soldier Field.
The Raiders, though, are more capable of applying pressure on a young quarterback than the Chiefs. The Raiders came in with 28 sacks, including 11 in their previous two games. They sacked Hanie four times. The Chiefs were last in the NFL with 12 sacks in 10 games coming into their Sunday night game.
''We'd like to have a couple of those plays back. But he gave us an opportunity to win at the end,'' Smith said. ''On the road, against a good defense, we can build off of this performance.
''It's tough coming in your first game. Just think about starting the season -- you [make] some mistakes that you won't have later in the year. But we have a small curve. We've got to get it down as soon as we can. I saw enough for us to build off of today. Next week you'll see better play from the quarterback position.''