The Bears hit two second-half field goals to hold off the Raiders, 20-9, Sunday in Las Vegas. Here’s what you need to know:
Three moments that mattered
1. Finishing the job: The Raiders faced a fourth-and-5 on their own 30-yard-line at the two-minute warning. Quarterback Derek Carr threw an incompletion to Bryan Edwards on a slight improvisation. If Carr had a little bit more touch, it could’ve possibly gone for a score, but that’s an interesting decision to trust the game on a receiver who dropped a 60-yard gimme earlier – even if it was probably the right read with Darren Waller getting a ton of attention.
2. Mack attack: After the Raiders scored a touchdown with 9:01 remaining in the game on Josh Jacobs’ run, Khalil Mack sacked Carr on the ensuing 2-point conversion to sustain the Bears’ 14-9 lead. Mack entered Sunday with two injuries – ribs and foot – and still found a way to make plays at critical moments. Mack finished with eight tackles and one sack.
3. Exhale: With 6:10 remaining in the second quarter, Justin Fields suffered an apparent left leg injury after a sack. Fields was put into the medical tent for a brief moment before returning to the game a few plays later while Andy Dalton took a few snaps in relief. Although it’s obviously a positive development that the injury does not appear to be serious, the rookie took his fair share of hits throughout the game. It’s yet another reminder just how quickly things can change. Dalton can tell us all about that.
Three things that worked
1. Hello, Khalil Herbert: Let’s be clear here: David Montgomery is an unmistakably critical piece for this offense and certainly is missed while he comes back from his knee injury, but Damien Williams and rookie Khalil Herbert showed the Bears’ depth at running back is in good shape. With Tarik Cohen’s recovery from an ACL injury still coming along, depth production becomes all the more valuable. Herbert and Williams combined for 139 yards. Herbert had a Bears-high 75.
2. Bent, but not broken:The Bears’ defense limited the Raiders to 5-of-14 third-down conversions and Jacobs to 48 yards on 15 carries, and Carr wasn’t helped by drops and penalties. With Akiem Hicks out, Tashaun Gipson Jr., Mack and Trevis Gipson had sacks. Defensive coordinator Sean Desai certainly deserves some credit for how his defense has performed through five weeks.
3. Fields battled: It wasn’t the game of his life, but Fields (12-of-20 passing, 111 yards, one TD) deserves a ton of credit for his play down the stretch. A third-and-12 conversion pass to Darnell Mooney was a legitimate NFL throw, and he trusted himself to make it. That eventually led to Cairo Santos’ 33rd consecutive field goal with 2:45 left to push the lead to 17-9 Bears.
Three things that didn’t
1. Missed opportunities With 11:09 in the third quarter, Bears safety DeAndre Houston-Carson came up with an impressive interception on a deep Carr pass, but the Bears’ offense gained 0 yards on three plays and burned less than one minute off the clock. The Raiders, to that point, made the brunt of mistakes, but that was an opportunity to make it a three-possession game, and the Bears failed. The Bears punted their first three second-half possessions.
2. Come on, Edwards: Mario Edwards Jr. had two penalties, including an unnecessary roughness on a Jacobs run in the fourth quarter that gave the Raiders better field position to the Bears’ 13-yard line with 11:45 remaining in the game. Say what you want about Roquan Smith’s ensuing roughing call before the Raiders’ score, but Edwards’ mistake was entirely more preventable.
3. Nagy’s challenge: On the Raiders’ touchdown drive, Nagy opted for a challenge after a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak, which was converted. It proved to be inconsequential, but it’s not a high-percentage challenge for defenses to win. That lost timeout could’ve been critical if the game was closer.
The Bears host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Soldier Field. The Bears have not defeated the Packers since Week 15 of 2018. It’ll also be Fields’ first start against their top NFC North rival.