September 25, 2022. A partly cloudy, mild day in Chicago. At Soldier Field, a mostly conservative, defensive effort by a Bears team struggling to build an identity. Thanks to a late interception by Roquan Smith, the Chicago Bears found an ugly win with a field goal as time expired. 23-20 Bears.
That was their last win at home.
Since that game, we’ve watched these adorable Bears lose at home to Washington, Miami, Detroit, Green Bay, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Minnesota, Green Bay again, Denver, and Minnesota again. Sure, the crowds have booed, heck they even booed the team in that win against the Texans. But when the opposing team is on 3rd down, Soldier Field is still rocking, and when a questionable call is made, and the replay goes up on the big boards, the bear goggles go on, and the crowd lets the referees have it.
We’re nothing if not persistent, we Bears fans clamoring for a win.
Starters Justin Fields, Nate Davis, and Eddie Jackson are inactive.
Roschon Johnson, Terell Smith, and Dan Feeney are Out as well. Khalil Herbert and Braxton Jones are on Injured Reserve.
As expected, the Bears are shaking up the offensive line.
With Lucas Patrick back and ready to start, Cody Whitehair will move to left guard, and Teven Jenkins will move to right guard. Ja’Tyre Carter will move back to a reserve role.
Tyson Bagent’s last start, in college, was a blowout loss to Colorado School of Mines.
Bagent completed 19-of-34 passes for 165 yards and two interceptions.
Bagent has an opportunity to be the first Bears rookie to win in his first NFL start since Craig Krenzel in 2004.
Credit to Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times for pointing this out.
What is going on with Mark Sanchez’s hair?
I guess if you’re going to rock it, rock it with confidence.
Two drops in short order.
Bears won the toss and elected to receive, which is pretty rare these days. Velus Jones Jr bobbled the ball (soon AI will be able to auto-fill that when you type “Velus”), but he recovered still in the end zone for a touchback. A quick pass out to DJ Moore followed by a Darryton Evans run for -1 yards led to third down, where D’Onta Foreman dropped a pass, and the Bears punted.
Davante Adams is still a Bear-killer.
The Las Vegas Raiders followed the Bears' example by immediately targeting their WR1, but it worked better for them. Davante Adams 11 yards and a first down, then two plays later, 15 yards and another first down to him again. The Bears tightened the screws and forced a 3rd-and-4, and the Raiders went to #17 again, but rookie Tyrique Stevenson timed it perfectly for an incomplete pass. The Raiders missed a 41-yard field goal wide left, and the Bears took over in a scoreless game.
Bears running wild
A sweet reverse where Tyler Scott found 8 yards, followed by two D’Onta Foreman runs picked up a first down for the Bears. A few short plays led to another third down, and Bagent found Tyler Scott over the middle for a new set. Bagent and Scott had some time together on the scout team and had a connection when Bagent came in last Sunday against the Vikings. D’Onta Foreman then picked up a first down on the ground, and Bagent had a long scramble run to get in the red zone. D’Onta Foreman had a too-strong run after contact to get close to the goal line, DJ Moore picked up the first down (touchdown waived off) and Foreman closed out the drive with a short touchdown run. 7-0 Bears. Of note: On the plays where Bagent did throw, he either threw the ball very quickly or he scrambled. Good protection, but he’s also helping his offensive line in ways Fields sometimes struggles.
Davante Adams might get 50 fantasy points today
The Raiders had a short run, then a play where their receiver fell down, and on 3rd-and-7 Jaylon Johnson was called for illegal contact. Five-yard penalty and a new set of downs. Davante Adams found an open spot in the Bears defense for another first down catch, and then he crossed midfield on a sweep play. Brian Hoyer went his way again, and he almost had a nice one-handed catch, but Stevenson did a good job breaking it up. That made it 7 targets for Adams already in the Raiders’ first two drives, and Tyrique Stevenson has his work cut out for him today. Raiders pinned the Bears at their own 8-yard-line with a good punt.
Holding call stalls the Bears’ drive
Darryton Evans fought his way for an 8-yard run, and that was the end of the first quarter. That’s a long way to walk to flip the field. Another Evans run picked up a first down for the Bears. A sideline throw to Darnell Mooney, and a toss play to Evans for a short gain set up 3rd-and-inches, where the Bears ran a quarterback sneak for a fresh set of downs. Larry Borom was called for holding to put the Bears behind the sticks, but they worked passes to Darnell Mooney and DJ Moore to set up 3rd-and-6. Unfortunately, the pass rush wrecked the timing of their play so the Bears punted. 7-0 Bears as the Raiders take over. Of note: The quick throws and dedication to the running game to that point had kept defensive end Maxx Crosby quiet. Considering he’s their best player on defense, it helps the offensive line get settled in.
Tremaine Edmunds with the pick
The Raiders picked up 4 on a run, and then a pass was tipped up and intercepted by the Bears. Yannick Ngakue put himself in a good spot so the passing lane changed, and Josh Jacobs couldn’t haul in the hook pass at his shoulder. Two Bears putting themselves in the right place to make a play.
D’Onta Foreman scores again
Already in Raiders territory, Foreman worked another bring-em-along-for-the-ride run after contact, then Scott picked up the first down on a sweep. A throw to tight end Marcedes Lewis, in his record-setting 18th NFL season, gave the Bears goal-to-go, and Foreman ran it in for another touchdown. 14-0 Bears and you’re not alone wondering where has this been all year?
Bears hold Raiders to field goal
The Raiders mirrored the Bears with a commitment to the run game, with Josh Jacobs picking up 3 yards on first down. Hoyer then threw to Jacobi Meyers for a first down, then found him again for an 8-yard gain, then found him a third consecutive time for another Raiders first down. Two plays later, Hoyer threw to Meyers once more, so it’s clear the Bears focused on shutting Davante Adams down. Justin Jones tipped a pass, but Jaquan Brisker dropped the interception, which is unfortunate because he had green grass in front of him. The Raiders offensive line helped the Bears out with a false start and then a holding call, setting up 1st-and-25. The Bears returned the favor with a defensive pass interference on Tyrique Stevenson. At the two-minute warning, the Raiders were deep in Bears’ territory and set to receive the kick to begin the second half.
On the other side of the two-minute warning, the Bears dialed up a beautiful pass rush on 3rd down, and the Raiders threw incomplete. A field goal cut the lead to 11, and there was enough time on the clock for the Bears to do something before the half.
Bears drive but run out of time on self-inflicted wounds.
Bagent showed great escapability from a collapsing pocket and found Scott for a 6-yard gain. He followed that up with a quick slant pass to DJ Moore to move the sticks, and the Bears hurried up and ran a sideline pass to Darnell Mooney to stop the clock. Another Borom holding call moved the Bears back 10 yards, but the Bears got most of them back on a pass to Mooney. After letting some time run off the clock (Why? You still have timeouts, Flus), Bagent found Moore deep sideline, and the Bears crossed midfield with less than 30 seconds remaining. Offensive Coordinator Luke Getsy must have gotten sick of watching his offense work well throwing quick passes, because Maxx Crosby finally got home for a sack. Bagent held the ball too long. On 3rd-and-17, with 9 seconds remaining, Bagent scrambled right and threw to Moore, but it was broken up well by the Raiders. On 4th-and-17, now backed up to the wrong side of midfield, the Bears brought in Nathan Peterman for a weird but forgettable play. Halftime, 14-3 Bears.
Josh Jacobs shaken up as Bears force a punt
Brian Hoyer started the second half for the Raiders. After a rough first half against the Bears, it was worth wondering if they might turn to rookie Aidan O’Connell. Starter Jimmy Garoppolo was ruled out earlier this week. The Raiders continued their trend of running on first down, with Jacobs picking up 7 yards, then another run with a spin move to pick up the first down. Justin Jones sniffed out a third straight run and tackled Jacobs face-first, and Jacobs went to the sideline to get checked out. On 3rd-and-7, Hoyer threw incomplete over the middle, so the Bears defense proudly came off the field as the Raiders punted.
D’Onta Foreman scores again!!
Rookie Darnell Wright started the Bears’ drive off poorly with a false start, where they were already pinned deep in their own territory. D’Onta Foreman capped off a big run by trying a hurdle, which went very poorly for him. He got up and shook it off, though. A few plays later, Bagent scrambled up the pocket and continued on for 12 yards and a first down. He’s a good mobile quarterback, and he showed today he can keep Bears’ drives alive. The Bears then ran a very successful screen pass to Foreman, crossing into Raiders territory. Evans ran outside and up the sideline for 7 yards, then a counter right for a handful more and a first down. A screen pass to Moore picked up another 4 yards, then Bagent avoided a sack by throwing incomplete in the area of Foreman. That would have been a double-digit yard loss on the sack, and intentional grounding would have been disastrous as well, so that’s very good work by the UDFA rookie quarterback. Evans fought hard on the next play to move the sticks, and Bagent avoided another sack by finding fullback Khari Blasingame for a short gain. A pass to Foreman gave the Bears a first down in goal-to-go territory. Bagent threw a beautiful fade to DJ Moore, but credit to Marcus Peters to break it up. Bagent then found Foreman for the running back’s third touchdown of the game, this one through the air. 21-3 Bears and Bagent looks excellent. Of note: The Bears’ success in the running game means they ran clock. A LOT of clock. 4:04 left in the third quarter, and the Raiders have only had one drive in the second half.
Raiders miss two touchdown opportunities and settle for a field goal
A few short passes, including one to Davante Adams (he was on fire earlier, but the Bears keyed in on him), brought up 3rd-and-3 for the Raiders around their own 42-yard line, where Jacobi Meyers caught a slant pass for a first down. Jaquan Brisker almost got there in time. Almost. The Bears then dialed up a blitz, and Justin Jones got a sack on the ensuing play. That was the Bears’ first sack of the game. A deep pass attempt to Davante Adams was well covered by Tyrique Stevenson, then on 3rd-and-18, the Raiders took another deep shot, and Jaylon Johnson was called for pass interference. He never turned his head, easy call. Placed at the spot of the foul, that put the Raiders in the red zone. Josh Jacobs was back in the game by then, and he caught a short gain to end the 3rd quarter. 21-3 Bears and the Raiders are threatening again.
That was another long trip to flip the field. On 3rd-and-4 from the Bears’ 9-yard line, Hoyer threw to Josh Jacobs and he hauled it in over his shoulder in the endzone. It was called a touchdown, but Jacobs was clearly still securing the ball when his left foot touched out of bounds. The heavy deficit dictated that the Raiders go for it, and on 4th-and-4, Soldier Field got rocking... but Davante Adams caught a pass for a first down anyway. On 1st-and-goal, Jack Sanborn knew exactly where Josh Jacobs was going and blew a tricky run play up in the backfield. Brisker then made a good tackle after a short pass. On 3rd and goal, Stevenson got beat bad by Davante Adams, but Adams dropped a wide-open touchdown over his shoulder. For some reason, the Raiders decided one fourth down conversion was enough, and they sent their field goal unit out that time. Carlson split the uprights, and the Bears retained a strong lead. 21-6 Bears.
Happy National Tight Ends Day, Cole Kmet. Now wait for the ball to be snapped, please.
Cole Kmet, quiet today on National Tight Ends Day, was called for a false start, and the Bears got behind the sticks again. Foreman then ran left and tried a hurdle, and it worked this time! That’s a 6 yard gain, and then Foreman ran it again for a handful more and a first down. The medical crew then came out to look at Foreman, who was flipped around in mid-air and couldn’t get back up after. Even if he doesn’t come back in, this is already a career day for Foreman.
Continuing to milk the clock, the Bears ran twice and then on 3rd-and-5 found DJ Moore around the sideline to move the sticks. The Bears absolutely refuse to attack the middle of the field, but the score in this game does somewhat help justify it. Darryton Evans picked up where Foreman left off with a good run to keep the chain-gang moving, and the Bears moved into field goal range. A great run by Evans was called back for holding, this one on Teven Jenkins. Then Kmet was called for another false start. That was the 9th penalty for Chicago. Despite the score, that’s not winning football. Foreman came back into the game and had a short run to set up 3rd-and-18, where running back Travis Homer bobbled a toss and bounced the football around a few times before recovering for no gain. Cairo Santos drilled a 54-yard field goal, and the Bears survived a rough end to a good drive. 24-6 Bears and they ran the clock down to 5:46 left in the game. Of note: Bagent has averaged 5.6 yards per completion in this game. That’s incredibly low, but it’s working?
Jaylon Johnson, currently on the trade block, gets a pick-6
Hoyer threw a terrible jump ball, and Jaylon Johnson jumped the route, snatched it out of the air, and ran it back for a touchdown. The extra point was blocked, but at 30-6, the Bears can breathe a sigh of relief. That’s the nail in the coffin and a great ending to a roller-coaster day for Johnson.
Different quarterback, same Jaylon Johnson interception
Aidan O’Connell came in for the Raiders, but he struggled as well and threw another pick to Jaylon Johnson. Can the Bears pay him and then keep him on the trade block? Kidding, but he’s killing it, given the circumstances.
Bears keep it conservative
Bears ran some more time off the clock, with two runs by Foreman and one by Evans to eat a pair of timeouts by Vegas. That brought the clock under 4 minutes left.
Jesper Horsted caught a pass, a welcome sighting back in Chicago. O’Connell recovered well from that interception and completed five consecutive passes to bring the Raiders to the Bears’ 20-yard line at the two-minute warning. In prevent mode, it’s no surprise that the Bears are allowing action underneath. That led to the two-minute warning.
Another pair of completed passes moved the sticks, and the Raiders on first-and-goal threw a touchdown to Jacobi Meyers. It’s garbage time, but that 30-6 was a good point of pride for the defense, now slightly spoiled. A failed two-point conversion for the Raiders made it 30-12, and the Raiders didn’t have the timeouts to stop the Bears from kneeling.
It wouldn’t be Bears football without a quarterback controversy, and we’ll hear all about it in the coming week. Bagent’s longest pass was 17 yards to D’Onta Foreman, and most of those were after the catch. Same with the 16-yard pass to Marcedes Lewis. Beyond that, his 15-yard pass to DJ Moore was his longest bonafide chuck down the field. Their success with short yardage and running the ball down Las Vegas’ throat is pretty good evidence that the Raiders came completely unprepared. The Bears did very well to capitalize on that.
The defense, a rough spot for the first month of the season, continued their strong month of October, holding the Raiders to 12 points on 235 total yards (it was 160 before garbage time) and three takeaways. The Raiders came into this contest statistically toward the top half of the league in passing yards, but bottom half in rushing yards, and the Bears did a good job recovering from their early drive to actually shut down both facets of their opponents’ game.
Third down efficiency for the Bears was 8-12 compared to the Raiders’ 1-8, and that’s one of those team stats that correlates to the final score very closely.
Most valuable Bear: D’Onta Foreman.
Honorable Mention: Tyson Bagent, Tyrique Stevenson.
The Bears will try to carry this momentum into Los Angeles next Sunday as they take on the Chargers.