Better late than never as they say. It was a week ago Sunday that the Raiders faced off against the Bears in London. After which I stayed over in Europe for a week, hence the delayed Ballers & Busters for the Raiders’ big win. It was a fun one for Raiders fans to watch, so I figured the 24-21 stunner would still be fun to recount a week later.
The rookie back was always going to be the key to the Raiders chances in this game. It was his strengths against the Bears’ strength and Jacobs ran through them all day, finding holes, using his blockers perfectly, juking defenders, and breaking tackles right and left and center.
Jacobs led off the Raiders’ first scoring drive with three straight runs. The third came on third and one and he got the pitch, broke two tackles and went for 21 yards. He would later finish off the drive with a touchdown, reading his blocks and weaving 12 yards to paydirt. His efforts would help the Raiders take a 17-0 lead at the half.
The third quarter, everything came crashing down. The first big mistake was on Jacobs who ran the wrong play, causing Derek Carr to pitch the ball past him for a fumble that led to a Bears touchdown. The Bears would add two more touchdowns in the quarter to take a 21-17 lead.
Down three points in the fourth quarter, the Raiders would need a touchdown drive. Midway through the quarter they would get one. It started with a 15-yard run by Jacobs. And it would end with a diving 2-yard touchdown run by Jacobs. He finished with 123 yards and 2 TD’s on 26 carries (4.7 yards per carry) and another 20 yards on 3 catches.
Derek Carr, Foster Moreau
Jacobs started and ended that game-winning touchdown drive. In between it was Carr and Moreau making two huge connections. On third and one, Carr dropped back in play action, pumped left to freeze the defense as Moreau came across the formation from right to left on a shallow cross. Carr turned left and fired to Moreau, hitting him in stride wide open for 23 yards to the Chicago 37.
Later in the drive, with the Raiders at the 18-yard-line, Carr threw a laser where only Moreau could get it, but it took a diving grab for him to snag it, but snag it he did, putting the Raiders in first and goal at the two. Jacobs dove in for the score on the next play.
Earlier in the game, Carr found fellow tight end Derek Carrier on a similar play, but from left to right. It was also on third down and it went for 20 yards. The Raiders would score their first touchdown a few plays later on that drive. Carr needed his tight ends considering the wide receiving corps was so banged up and missing his top receiver, Tyrell Williams. Carr still managed to complete 25 of 32 passes for 229 yards and finish with a 96.5 passer rating. Moreau was his top receiver with 4 catches for 46 yards.
Those other big plays on the game winning drive were huge. But none of them would have happened without the play by Harris. A running into the kicker penalty would turn a punt on 4th and six to a fake punt on 4th and one. Harris got the direct snap and took it for 4 yards and the drive was still alive.
Following the go-ahead touchdown, the defense had to keep the Bears from driving down the field to tie or win it and they had just under two minutes and two timeouts with which to work. Twenty of those seconds were taken off the clock with Harris making a tackle on a 5-yard catch in the middle of the field.
That tackle wasn’t as big as his tackle that ended the Bears’ first drive eight yards short on third and 20. He also had a big tackle at the one-yard line to make the Bears run another play before they scored and would lead the Raiders with 6 tackles, all solo. He even added a pass defended to open the third quarter forcing a three-and-out.
This is the kind of play everyone expected from Johnathan Abram. He was lost in the season opener and Harris has done well in his stead.
Kolton Miller, Trent Brown
Derek Carr wasn’t sacked. Khalil Mack got around Brown one time to get a hit on Carr, who managed to throw the ball into the turf just as Mack got there. But other than that, Carr was relatively clean back there.
As impressive as that was against Mack and the Bears stellar defensive front, it was Miller’s work in the run game that deserves mentioning. Mainly because it’s an area which he has struggled.
Jacobs got the Raiders moving on their first scoring drive with a 21-yard run off of a pitch. Out front of him was Miller laying a block downfield to clear the way. Later in the same drive, he ha a key block on a Jalen Richard 9-yard run.
The second touchdown of the day for the Raiders came on first and goal from the three. DeAndre Washington ran behind blocks by Brown to get in the end zone.
The game-winning touchdown drive began with a Jacobs 15-yard run behind a block by Miller.
Both of Jacobs’s touchdown runs were with Ingold ahead of him making a key block. The first one, Ingold’s assignment was Khalil Mack. Ingold went low to take out Mack’s legs and Jacobs ran by him for the score from 12 yards out. The second touchdown was from two yards out. Jacobs dove over the line for the score, but it was Ingold who dove ahead of him for the block to ensure jacobs’s dive would cross the goal line. Ingold even got a carry in short yardage for a first down.
Also laying a key block downfield on that 12-yard Jacobs touchdown run was Hudson. He also was the lead block on the two runs leading up to that touchdown run helping Richard run for nine yards and five yards. Hudson also had a block on an 8-yard Jacobs run on the game-winning drive.
Daryl Worley, Nicholas Morrow
There should have been three interceptions by the Raiders in this game, but Worley’s pick was wiped away by a penalty. Morrow had the first one. It came on third and five and was set up by a stop in which Worley cut off the outside on a jet sweep.
Worley would end the Bears’ final drive of the first half with a tackle short of the first down to send them to the locker room down 17-0. Morrow made the first tackle of the second half with a run stuff for no gain and htye would go three and out. The rest of the third quarter was a travesty for the Raiders, but not because of Morrow or Worley.
Worley’s interception came early in the fourth quarter. A questionable roughing the passer penalty on Maurice Hurst would negate the interception, but Worley end the drive anyway with a tackle on a one-yard catch on third and 7. Worley and Morrow would have identical stat lines with each putting up 4 tackles, all solo and an interception. Worley’s pick just didn’t count.
This one had been circled on Gruden’s calendar for a while. He had a few goals in this order: 1) Keep Khalil Mack from wreaking havoc on his offense 2) feed Josh Jacobs (who he picked with one of the selections he got in the Mack trade) the rock and get him in space 3) Win. He accomplished all three. He broke out a few plays that the Bears were not expecting and kept them on their heels much of the day. And his team showed great resilience late in the game which looked like carryover from their big win in Indianapolis the week before. The confidence they gain from that will continue to serve them the rest of the season.
Maurice Hurst - Hurst ended the Bears’ first half with a sack that put them in third and 21. And he ended the game with a sack.
Corey Liuget - It was Liuget getting pressure up the middle which helped lead to Bears QB Chase Daniel throwing the ball up for grabs where Gareon Conley made the interception to kill the Bears’ hopes of a comeback. Liuget added a tackle for loss.