The Chicago Bears came away with a victory on Sunday over the Las Vegas Raiders. The Bears trounced the Raiders by a score of 20-9 and improved their record to 3-2 on the season. Chicago kept pace with the first place Green Bay Packers, who are 4-1 after their wild win over the Cincinnati Bengals. However, not many pundits had foreseen the Bears having three wins after five weeks. Yet, here they are. Not only is it surprising that they’re 3-2, but they’ve beaten two quality teams handily in the process. It seems the team is starting to gel and coming together at the right time.
Nevertheless, here are the takeaways from their win over the Raiders.
Commitment to the Run
The Bears’ game plan seemed fairly simple: run, run, and run some more. That plan worked out pretty well for them. Not only does it help their rookie QB, but it protected him after he took some hits early in the game. Overall, the Bears rushed the ball 37 times for 143 yards (3.9 ypc) and one touchdown as a team. Those 37 rush attempts account for 61.6% of their total plays, while Khalil Herbert and Damien Williams were spearheading the running game.
- Khalil Herbert: 18 carries, 75 yards (4.2 avg), 0 TD
- Damien Williams: 16 carries, 64 yards (4.0 avg), 1 TD
- Justin Fields: 3 carries, 4 yards (1.3 avg), 0 TD
Now, here is a look at the Bears’ lone rushing TD on the day.
While the running backs looked amazing, it’s only fair to give credit where credit is due. The offensive line was fantastic against the Raiders. Not only were they opening up running lanes for Herbert and Williams, but they were pushing defensive lineman and linebackers around. The Bears offensive line played with some aggression and nastiness on Sunday. For example, here is Olin Kreutz shouting out James Daniels in particular on a play, which possibly went unnoticed otherwise.
Furthermore, the offensive line held up relatively well in pass protection too. As a result, they only allowed two sacks in the game, which is a long way from the nine they allowed just two weeks ago against the Cleveland Browns.
While the stat sheet won’t reflect it, but based on the eye test, Justin Fields had a decent game. He hardly ever put the ball in harm’s way despite facing pressure. In fact, Fields made a couple of huge throws during the game including the first passing touchdown of his career, which went to Jesper Horsted.
However, of all the throws he made against the Raiders, none of them will be as big as this one in the fourth quarter on third-and-12.
Additionally, after this third down strike to Darnell Mooney from Fields, the Bears kept their drive alive. Ultimately, leading Chicago to take a few more minutes off the clock. Consequently, it led to a successful field goal which increased their lead to eight points.
Overall, Justin Fields had good game, but nothing too flashy in terms of statistics. He posted the following stat line: 12-20, 111 yards (5.6 avg), 1 TD, 0 INT and a 91.9 QB Rating. Nevertheless, it was another game under his belt. There were a lot of positives and still some negatives. By no means was Fields perfect, but there were definite signs of improvement.
Justin Fields: Tough as Nails
There is no disputing that Fields is a tough guy who is highly competitive. As soon as the game began, Fields was taking hits from the Raiders defense. It was almost as if their game plan was to rattle the rookie quarterback. On third down of the second drive, Fields scrambled up the middle only to take a vicious hit from Jonathan Abram. After that hit, it seemed like Fields wasn’t quite himself for a while. He went off to the sideline and was being looked at by the athletic trainer.
In addition, they had to place a trash can near Fields assuming it was a throw up situation. However, he quickly returned to the game after throwing some warm up balls with Andy Dalton.
After returning to the game, he seemed tentative at first before finding his rhythm again. Likewise, two possessions later, Fields suffered another injury. This one was scarier than the first, as the rookie limped off the field after seemingly “hyperextending” his knee.
Eventually, Andy Dalton checked into the game but it was short-lived. After three plays off, Fields grabbed his helmet and came right back in and finished the game.
Offense vs. Offense
As a whole, the offense did not put up eye-popping numbers. In fact, the Bears offense put up numbers eerily similar to the Raiders offense.
|3rd Down Efficiency||6-13||5-14|
|4th Down Efficiency||0-0||1-3|
|Yards per Play||4.2||4.3|
|Yards per Pass||4.7||4.9|
|Yards per Rush||3.9||3.2|
|Red Zone Efficiency||2-2||1-2|
|Defensive/Special Teams TD||0||0|
|Time of Possession||32:02||27:58|
The Bears defense held the Raiders offense to only nine points. This Raiders offense was ranked 9th in points and 6th in yards heading into the contest, all while averaging 26.0 points per game. So, what the Bears defensive did to the Raiders offense and how they made them look is nothing short of amazing. Chicago was able to limit Las Vegas to 259 yards of offense (188 passing, 71 rushing). Meanwhile, the Bears logged three sacks. The front seven was able to create constant pressure throughout the game and found themselves regularly in Derek Carr’s face. Additionally, the unit collected a single takeaway when DeAndre Houston-Carson intercepted Carr’s pass early in the third quarter.
Khalil Mack Revenge Game
In 2019 against the Raiders, Khalil Mack was silenced by the Raiders in his first game against his former team. However, this time he would not be denied. Mack logged 8 tackles, 7 solo tackles, 1 TFL and 1 sack.
The Bears may have something in Trevis Gipson. The 2020 fifth-round pick added another sack to his season total.
He now has a sack in back-to-back games and is starting to make a name for himself. Not only that, but he’s contributing in run defense as well.
Now, the Bears have five tight ends on the roster, two of which were inactive for this game. However, the other three combined for 24 yards on three receptions and one touchdown.
- Cole Kmet: 2 catches, 22 yards
- Jesper Horsted: 1 catch, 2 yards, 1 TD
Notably, Jimmy Graham was nonexistent, which has been a reoccurring theme here in 2021. Graham, who carries a cap hit of $5.3 million and a dead cap of $10M, had zero yards and zero receptions on zero targets against the Raiders.
Once again, Roquan Smith led the defense in tackles. His stat line read as such: 10 tackles, 5 solo tackles, and 1 pass breakup. We here at On Tap Sports Net are team #AllPRoquan.
The newly acquired wide receiver and return man had himself a nice day on special teams. While handling return duties, his speed and agility showed right off the bat. Jakeem Grant may be the answer in the return game if he continues to flash like he did against the Raiders.
Wash, rinse, repeat. Cairo Santos connected on both his field goals and extra points. He continues to grow his legend status in Chicago.
As it stands, there is no word on the severity or the status of either player and their ailment. Likewise, as mentioned earlier, Justin Fields suffered a rib and knee injury, but both he and Matt Nagy confirmed the ailment shouldn’t be a big deal. Additionally, LB Jeremiah Attaochu is dealing with a pectoral injury and left the game early as well.
Overall, the Bears went to Las Vegas and punched the Raiders in the mouth, which was an unexpected result considering how the Bears looked over the first two weeks. The Raiders are a physical, nasty team and the Bears outclassed them in their own building.
Despite the offense hitting lulls at times, they made enough plays as a unit to win the game. Justin Fields took a beating early and often and still kept coming back with resiliency. On the flip side, the defense put on a clinic and stifled a high-powered Raiders offense. As a result, none of the Raiders playmakers ever really stood out.
Yes, the Bears won an ugly game, but a win is a win. But, in the NFL you take them anyway you can get them. Nevertheless, Matt Nagy survives and lives another day as the Bears’ head coach, despite having a few questionable decisions during the game.
In conclusion, there wasn’t a lot to complain about in the victory. It was a typical Bears win. The defense dominated and the offense did just enough. That game has been the epitome of the Nagy era. However, the only difference is that Justin Fields is under center and the future looks a little more promising than it ever has.
What’s On Tap Next?
The Chicago Bears (3-2) will come back home to take on a long-time divisional foe. The Green Bay Packers (4-1) will make the trek down to Soldier Field on Sunday, October 17 and these two rivals will battle it out for first place. The game will take place at 12:00 p.m. CDT and can be viewed on FOX.
The Packers come to Chicago riding high and on a four-game win streak. The Bears look to change their fate against Green Bay, which recently hasn’t been great. Nevertheless, the Packers have been and will still be a handful for the Bears. Green Bay is still led by Aaron Rodgers and his compliment of play-makers, including Aaron Jones, Devante Adams, Robert Tonyan, and Randall Cobb. However, the Bears might be catching them at the right time as the Packers defense, particularly the secondary, has been decimated due to injuries. Nevertheless, the Bears will have to bring their best against their rival.
Be sure to tune into the Bears On Tap podcast for postgame reaction, updates, and analysis throughout the week in addition to discussions on a variety of Bears-related topics.
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