So it’s been a good week for Chicago, but all of that came with the caveat “it’s the Lions!”
The Lions seem to, more often than not, be the panacea to all of the Bears’ issues. Now the real tests begin, starting with Sunday against a somewhat surprising 3-1 Raiders team.
The current knock on the Raiders is that they’ve been known to start hot and then fade. They started 3-0 but are coming off a loss on a short week.
Can the revamped Bears give them a game or will there be more growing pains of a new QB and playcaller, on the road with an uptick in competition?
SB Nation site: Silver and Black Pride
Record: 3-1, first in AFC West
Last week: 28-14 loss on Monday Night Football to the Chargers
Game day, time, TV: Sunday, 3:05 p.m. CT, CBS
Bears all-time record against: 7-8
Historical meetings: Week 5, 2003, the first Bears game I ever attended in person.
The Bears fell behind at halftime 18-3 following one Raider touchdown, a missed PAT and four subsequent Sebastian Janikowski field goals.
The Bears battled back in the opening play of the fourth quarter, Kordell Stewart hit Marty Booker for a 14-yard touchdown.
The Bears then scored later on a Stanley Pritchett 8-yard touchdown and followed it up with a Kordell Stewart two point conversion to make it a three point game with 6:58 to play.
Rich Gannon drove the Raiders down and they made a game-tying field goal with 3:36 to play.
Too much time for Stewart!! He took the Bears on an 11-play drive that ate up 3:31 seconds and 43 yards. Paul Edinger nailed a 48-yard field goal as time expired to give the Bears their first win of the season.
Last meeting: The Bears met the Raiders in London in week four of 2019.
It was a meeting of two 3-1 teams. With Mitch Trubisky sidelined, the Bears rolled out Chase Daniel.
The Bears gave up two touchdowns in the second quarter, one off a Chase Daniel interception that turned in to a Josh Jacobs touchdown.
The Bears were down 17-0 at halftime but scored a touchdown after a Khalil Mack fumble recovery deep in Raider territory.
Chicago scored on their next two drives, the second aided by a 71-yard Tarik Cohen punt return.
The Bears forced another Raider punt and went on a six minute drive, but had to punt it away from the Raider 42 yard line.
The Raiders responded with a 97-yard touchdown drive to take the leader with 1:57 left.
Daniel threw an interception on the next drive and despite getting the ball back, it was too late and the Bears lost 24-21.
Injury report: On their Wednesday injury report, the Raiders listed 12 players, with seven being limited or held out:
Limited participation: S Johnathan Abram (shoulder), RB Josh Jacobs (ankle), T Kolton Miller (knee)
Did not participate: CB Damon Arnette (groin), RB Peyton Barber (toe), TE Derek Carrier (pectoral), CB Trayvon Mullen Jr. (toe)
Offense: The Raiders offense comes in to the game ranked ninth in points and fifth in yards.
Their passing offense ranks second in yards and their rushing game ranks 27th.
Derek Carr (64.1 cmp. pct./1,399 yds./8 TD/3 INT) is running the show and it’s a prolific passing game at that.
This passing games has some serious weapons led by freak TE Darren Waller (24 rec./274 yds./2 TD) and receivers Hunter Renfrow (22/249/2) and Henry Ruggs (14/297/1).
Their other receivers include Zay Jones (4/66/1), FB Alec Ingold (5/23/1), WR Bryan Edwards (11/214/0) and RB Kenyon Drake (13/138/0).
Peyton Barber (37 att./143 yds./1 TD) is leading the Raiders on the ground as Josh Jacobs (23/74/2) missed two games with an injury. Drake (22/46/0) appears to mostly be a third down back.
Ruggs will test the Bears’ secondary deep as he has incredible speed, demonstrated by his 21.2 yards per catch.
Defense: The Raiders’ defense ranks 19th in both yards and points allowed.
Their passing defense ranks 13th in yards and 23rd in rushing yards allowed.
Up front pass rushers Maxx Crosby (2 sks/13 QB hits/3 TFL) and Carl Nassib (1.5 sk/1 FF/1 TFL/2 QB hits) are the big names, but Solomon Thomas (2 sk/1 FF/2 PD/4 QB hits) and DT Quinton Jefferson (1 sk/4 QB hits/1 TFL/1 FF) are also up front.
Linebackers Denzel Perryman (48 tkls/1 TFL/1 FR) and Cory Littleton (38 tkls/1 PD) are the leading tacklers, along with safety Johnathan Abram (33 tkls/2 TFL/1 PD).
Interestingly the Raiders have only one interception, by Trayvon Mullen (4 PD/1 INT) and just three turnovers overall.
Key match ups:
- The Chicago offensive line has to hold the Raiders’ defensive line in check in order to give Justin Fields time to survey the field and find his receivers.
- Running room should be a little bit easier to find, given the discrepancy in the Raiders’ passing and rushing defense stats. The Bears will be without David Montgomery, but Damian Williams is a more than capable back up.
- On defense, the secondary has to step up big time outside of Jaylon Johnson. This Las Vegas offense has lots of talent and can make explosive plays at any time. The key is, as Chargers DE Joey Bosa said after the game, to hit Carr. If he’s got time and he’s kept clean, he can be a very good quarterback, but with pressure and a few hits or knockdowns, he’ll go in to a shell.
- The Raiders are tied with the Bucs for the most explosive pass plays (>20 yards) in the league with 23. The Bears have the second fewest with six.
- Derek Carr and Justin Fields have both been sacked 12 times, third most in the league. Carr, however has had 118 more passing attempts.
- Carr is a second half quarterback: in the first half he has 57.7 completion percentage for 489 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. In the second half it’s 72.2 for 727 yards, six touchdowns and one interception (his third interception was in overtime).
- The Raiders have two overtime wins so far this year
- The Raiders defense is very bad in the redzone, allowing opponents to score 88.9 percent of the time, 30th in the league. However, they are the eighth best defense on third down, holding opponents to a 32.7 conversion percentage.
- The Bears, on the other hand, rank dead last on third down on offense (28.9 pecent) and rank 25th in redzone offense (54.5 percent).
Can the Bears steal a road victory this week? Have the Raiders been lucky or good? Do you think Chicago’s improvement on offense will continue against a better opponent?