Just as in the two wins prior, this game was a back and forth affair with both teams taking giving up the lead several times. But this time, there was not late game heroics by the Raiders to pull out the win.
There were seven lead changes in this game. The Bears jumped out to an early lead 6-0 on a touchdown and a blocked extra point on their first drive. The Raiders took the lead in the second quarter with a touchdown of their own plus and extra point. They extended that lead to 14-6 thanks in part to a fumbled snap from the backup center to Jay Cutler.
But they would have a turnover of their own on an interception and relinquish that lead before halftime on two Bears scoring drives to head into halftime down 16-14.
Come the third quarter, the Raiders jumped ahead again in the turnover margin on a Matt Forte fumble and re-took the lead on a field goal to go up 17-16. The entire second half was an exchange of field goals with both teams turning the ball over again as well. Down by one point, the Bears got the ball with 2:05 on the clock and drove into field goal range to hit the game winner.
This is what we call a coming out party. And it shows you how valuable having a training camp and preseason is to a player. Smith was unemployed for the month leading up to the season opener while everyone else was getting in football shape and acclimating to their teams. Now a month into the season, Smith is looking like his old self (the good, on-the-field self).
One thing Smith had working in his favor in this one was the Bears were without starting left tackle Jermon Bushrod. Smith took advantage of the young backup, as he should, and had a great day.
On the Bears' second drive, Smith got the inside and was in Cutler's face quickly to bat down his pass attempt. He was a major factor on all three Bears' possessions in the second quarter. He was held twice in the quarter - which is just as good as a sack. He also had a run stop. After the Bears got their interception to take over at the 15-yard-line, they would get first and goal at the 3-yard-line. Then Smith's rush helped back them up on a hold and on third down, he held his ground to lead to a run stuff to force them to settle for a field goal.
A Raiders' three-and-out gave the Bears the ball again before halftime, but on first down, Smith sacked Cutler to send the two teams to the locker room. It was Smith's first sack as a Raider.
With all his pass rushing skills, he was actually just as much of a force against the run in this one. In the second half he had a run stuff for no gain on third down to force the Bears to attempt a 54-yard field goal (which Robbie Gould would make to take a 19-17 lead). He added two more run stuffs on the next series. And on the Bears' final drive, he helped swarm Cutler along with Khalil Mack who got credit for the sack.
Crabtree was Mr Dependable in a game which didn't have a lot of dependability on offense. His first catch went for 11 yards on third and 3, but the drive was done in by two Amari Cooper drops. Crabtree would have his ankle rolled up on early in the second quarter and it looked uncertain if he would return.
He did return, and come the second half, he was back at it, catching a 17-yard pass that put the Raiders at the Chicago 17-yard line. Though they wouldn't get much closer and settled for a short field goal to re-take the lead at 17-16.
The Bears would, of course, take the lead back and on the ensuing drive, Crabtree had a 14-yard catch. After the two teams exchanged turnovers, the Raiders were back in business, starting with two straight catches from Crabtree of 25 and 13 yards to help move them into scoring position where they would add a field goal for their final points of the game.
Crabtree led the Raiders in catches (5) and receiving yards (80).
In just his second game as a Raider, he was the team's number one cornerback, playing nearly every snap. He didn't give up a catch on the Bears' first drive for a touchdown and then he had tight coverage to force and incompletion to end the Bears' second drive.
The Bears' first possession of the second half lasted one play. Matt Forte took the ball around left tackle and Amerson was there to put his helmet on the ball and force the fumble. The Raiders took the short field and added a go-ahead field goal. He also didn't give up a catch in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, he had a pass defended and on the Bears' final drive, it was Amerson in tight coverage on third and five that forced them to go for it on fourth down. A few plays later Amerson gave up his one costly catch. It went for nine yards and put the Bears in field goal range for the game winner. But it took a lot of failing by the rests of the Raiders' defense to get to that point, so one can hardly pin that on Amerson. Especially after such a stellar game prior to that play.
Amerson finished second on the team with 7 tackles (5 solo).
The ball was leaping off his foot in this game. While that may not be entirely uncommon for King, he also had no touchbacks and placed two punts inside the 20-yard line. His first punt traveled 54 yards and was downed at the 6-yard line. His second punt went 52 yards, was returned just 2 yards and the Bears were called for holding to put them back at their own 12.
His final punt of the first half, he sent 50 yards down field and with :21 seconds on the clock, gave the Bears really no shot to score again before half time. Late in the third quarter, he placed one at the Browns' 10-yard line. That one went for 38 yards which put his average for the day just under 50 yards per punt (48.4) with a net of 45 yards per punt. Punting performances don't get much better than that.
He led the team with four hurries to help them have their best hurry numbers so far this season. He also added a sack on the Bears' final drive. The Bears' final drive of the first quarter, Mack had a run stop followed by a batted a ball down at the line. Those plays set up a third and 7 and Cutler was sacked. Then on the final play of the first half, Mack got pressure on Cutler again and when he stepped away from it, he was sacked. He added a couple run stuffs in the second half along with his sack to finish with 4 tackles (4 solo), a sack, a tackle for loss, and a pass defended.
His one big play was his second interception in consecutive games. And it looked a lot like his first interception. It was a pass up the right side close to the goal line that he swooped over and pick off. This pass was to tight end Martellus Bennett, who gouged the Raiders all day long (11 catches) and whom Cutler thought was open. Woodson closed that window quickly and stopped what was to be a scoring drive late in the game. Unfortunately it wasn't late enough in the game, giving the Bears another shot to win it. He gave up just 2 catches for negligible yards in the game.
Roy Helu Jr
If you look at Helu's last play, it can be hard to think of him as a Baller. He was stuffed on third and 2 on a play that, had the Raiders picked it up, may have meant the win. Though, one can hardly put the blame squarely on Helu's shoulders and it may not be his fault at all. After all, he had the three previous runs which were a three-yard run on third and two followed by two runs of four yards each. A few plays earlier on that crucial drive, he had a 12-yard run. Not altogether easy when the opposition knows you want to run the ball to bleed out the clock.
Helu was pressed into service after Latavius Murray's second turnover of the day and Helu performed admirably. But that wasn't where his day started. His first came in the second quarter. It was a catch behind the line in which he made two defenders miss and scooted for a four-yard touchdown. It gave the Raiders their largest lead of the day at 14-6. He also had a catch in the third quarter that went for 9 yards on a screen pass on third and 7.
He finished with 22 yards on 5 carries (4.4 yards per carry) and two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown.
The ground game for the Raiders wasn't great, but as usual when they did get good yards, it came via Route 66. He plowed the way for a 6-yard run and two plays later, the Raiders scored their first touchdown early in the second quarter. The Raiders first scoring drive of the second half began with Jackson blocking on a 7-yard run. Two plays later, he was once again leading the way for a 6-yard run. And the Raiders finished with a field goal to take the lead back at 17-16. Then on the Raiders' final scoring drive he helped to open a hole for a Roy Helu 12-yard run. That's 31 yards on 4 carries (7.75 ypc) of the Raiders total 70 rushing yards in the game.
Derek Carr - Had a beautiful touchdown pass to Amari Cooper for the Raiders' first touchdown of the day. Overall, he managed the game well and was efficient, giving the Raiders a chance to pull it out.
Dan Williams, Stacy McGee - Kept the middle of the line hemmed up pretty well, with most of Matt Forte's 91 yards coming elsewhere. Both players also came up with fumble recoveries.