by Bryan Dietzler
In what this writer thought was going to be an easy win for the Chicago Bears, the game ended up much differently than many thought. The Bears started with no energy whatsoever but stormed back to take the lead only to see it slip away. The game ended with a 24-21 score and a huge disappointment for the Bears and their fans.
The coaching staff is not letting their decision to come in on Friday, and only have about 48 hours or less to acclimate to the time change and the jet lag that the team was sure to experience, be the excuse for losing this game. The Raiders came to London at the start of the week and had plenty of time to acclimate. Oakland had the upper hand.
Let’s look at the scoring in this game and how it unfolded as well as a few key plays that helped make this a loss for the Bears.
The Raiders scored the first 17 points of the game. Their first touchdown happened after a 10-play 90-yard drive that ended on a 12-yard run by the star of the game, Josh Jacobs to put the Raiders up 7-0. Oakland marched down the field with seeming ease on the drive and left a lot of Bears’ fans scratching their heads and wondering what happened to that vaunted defense.
The Raiders would go up 14-0 after a three-yard touchdown by DeAndre Washington. The score capped off a quick 6-play 22-yard drive by the Raiders and further showed the ineptitude of the Bears’ defense.
Oakland would cap off the first half with a 41-yard Daniel Carson field goal following an 11-pay 43-yard drive.
The Bears, with their heads spinning, went into the locker room down 17-0 and looking for answers. They were able to find something in that locker room because they came out firing in the second half.
A miscommunication between quarterback Derek Carr and Jacobs left the ball to go flying away and gave the Bears the ball in the redzone early in the third quarter. Chicago would go five yards in two plays capping the short drive off with a one-yard touchdown run by David Montgomery. The score was 17-7 at that point.
Were the Bears mounting a comeback? It certainly looked like it.
Still, in the third quarter, the Bears would make it 17-14 following a 12-play 9-yard drive which saw it end with a four-yard pass from Chase Daniel to Allen Robinson.
The Bears would add another touchdown, this one following a huge punt return by Tarik Cohen. The touchdown came on a 16-yard pass from Daniel to Robinson just one play after the punt return.
The Bears seized the lead 21-17. Could they win this game?
The bottom sort of fell out as the defense was not able to stop the Raiders from marching 92 yards in 13 plays for a two-yard Jacobs touchdown run. The Raiders went up 24-21 leaving the Bears enough time to march down the field and either win or tie the game.
But they couldn’t do it.
Daniel threw a couple of nice passes and got the Bears into position but he threw an interception to end the drive and seal it for the Raiders. The Bears did get the ball back at the very end with just a few seconds left but couldn’t do anything.
The final score was 24-21 in favor of the Raiders.
The Bears’ offensive line has been struggling a lot as of late. They aren’t able to get any push in the rushing game and are playing poorly overall. Kyle Long looks like he is playing tired. Charles Leno, Jr., has regressed and James Daniels is not where he needs to be. This is a major problem that isn’t going to be fixed right away.
Chicago might end up sitting with this problem for the remainder of the season. Unless they can find and get better talent, this is going to be a group that stays with the Bears until the end of the season. This may be bad news for the Bears.
The offense looked tired in this game. Trey Burton had a horrible game. He looked slow and unwilling at times. He’s just not a great overall athlete. Perhaps he is still hurting from his ongoing groin injury.
One thing that you do have to appreciate about this offense was their ability to come back and take the lead. Traditionally in the past, if a Bears team was down by more than ten points, they wouldn’t be able to stage a comeback. But the Bears were able to do that, albeit temporarily.
That’s something to hang your hat on.
What is wrong with the defense? Wow, what a poor effort by one of the league’s top units. This group has been traditionally strong against the run but not in this game. In this one, they allowed almost 200 yards on the ground and gave up three rushing touchdowns. It was an embarrassment that the team and their fans hope to forget.
Perhaps Head Coach Matt Nagy’s plan of getting in on Friday wasn’t good. The team looked tired and could have probably used some extra time to adjust to the time change and shake the jet lag. Nagy says that’s not what’s to blame but I think that it had a hand in it.
Another thing that had a strong hand in helping the Bears to lose was the sheer size of the Raiders’ offensive line. They are huge and the Bears were too easily pushed around by this gargantuan set of football players.
Either way, it’s their worst performance in the Nagy era. This one needs to be burned, buried in the ground and forgotten.
Special Teams Excitement
The Bears’ special teams played very well against the Raiders. From well-placed punts by Pat O’Donnell to a long return by Tarik Cohen, this group did well.
Now, if all three phases could get going, this could be a better contender.
The most talked-about injury from this game happened to Akiem Hicks as he suffered from a dislocated elbow. There isn’t much out there about the injury. We aren’t sure how much time he’s going to miss but he’s sure to miss at least a little bit of time. Judging the injury (as seen on television), it looked serious.
The Bears will be on a bye and will come back next week to prepare for the New Orleans Saints. Coverage of that game will appear here, on BearsGab, next week.