Chicago Bears: Gruden and Raiders laugh last over Mack, Bears

Chicago Bears (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

Coming off of their dominant performance against Minnesota, the Chicago Bears entered week 5 expecting to feast against the Oakland Raiders…in the end Jon Gruden and his team got the last laugh.

What a game. That’s probably the best way to sum up the game between the Chicago Bears and the Oakland Raiders in London, England. A disappointing game for Bears fans no doubt, but a good game overall that saw the Bears come back from a 17-0 deficit, before turning the football over with less than two minutes left to play to seal the loss.

The game started out fairly promising for the defense, forcing the Raiders to punt the ball on their first drive of the game. Despite this, there were glimpses early on that the defense wasn’t quite prepared for the physical play of Oakland’s offensive line. Raiders rookie running back, Josh Jacobs, got going early and with the help of his offensive line ran the ball 26 times for 126 yards and two touchdowns. This is the first 100 yard rusher the Bears have allowed thus far this season.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr played an efficient game, throwing for 229 yards while completing 78 percent of his passes. The Bears defense failed to sack him and he did not seem overly bothered or concerned about the Bears pass rush. Bears linebacker Khalil Mack had a couple of nice plays, to include a fumble recovery, however he was neutralized for most of the contest.

This was not how it was supposed to go. Most of the chatter throughout the sports world and social media centered on how many sacks and quarterback pressures Mack was going to have on Sunday against his former employer. He was supposed to make them regret not making him the highest paid defensive player in the league and trading him to Chicago for a couple of draft picks.

Many experts and pundits covering pro football labeled Jon Gruden and the Raiders front office inept for making this move…outside of finding a quarterback that can play the game at a high level, finding a pass rusher who can do the same is almost just as impossible. Yet here we are…Mack rarely made his presence felt throughout the contest and you can bet Gruden was soaking this all up. This must feel great if you are a Raiders fan, not so much if you root for the Bears.

On offense Chicago could not find much going early on as the Bears offensive line broke down early and often on Chicago’s first five possessions. Those possessions resulted in four punts and an interception. The Bears didn’t get on the board until the third quarter, capitalizing on a Raiders turnover and a Mack fumble recovery in Oakland territory.  They reeled off two more touchdowns in the third quarter, with Allen Robinson leading the way and virtually catching anything and everything thrown his way.

Despite a couple of turnovers, with the last one costing them the game, Chase Daniel played another solid football game. The 11 year journeyman completed 73 percent of his passes while throwing for 231 yards and two touchdowns. Chase isn’t winning them football games at this point, but he was never expected to. For a career backup, he’s playing about as well as they can expect and in some ways has outplayed the younger and more athletic Mitchell Trubisky.

This was a tough loss for Matt Nagy and Company and though the bye week is coming earlier than many teams would prefer, it could not come soon enough for the Bears. They are banged up at several key positions and need some extra time to figure out what their identity on offense is going to be going forward. The defense could use a week to lick their wounds and get their heads back in the game. This is too talented a defense to keep down for too long.

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Here’s hoping the Bears have a bout of memory loss and regain their mojo from the Minnesota Vikings game. They have a tough contest coming up against the New Orleans Saints, who despite losing future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees to injury, keep reeling off impressive victories. The remaining schedule is not easy and this team could find themselves in a deep hole should they perform the way the did against Oakland. Let’s hope for their sake and ours, that’s not the case.