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Raiders vs Bears: Four winners, four losers

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Chicago Bears v Oakland Raiders Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Sunday was Raiders’ third game in London and the third time was apparently the charm. They came out with an improbable 24-21 win over the Bears.

Winners

Jon Gruden

There isn’t a happier person on the planet than Jon Gruden right now. He took his team halfway across the world to face the likely Hall of Famer who he infamously traded away in his prime who was the lynch pin on the best defensive line in football and dominated them on the ground using the player he selected with the first of the two first round picks he acquired in that trade (breathe). I think the word would be vindication. It doesn’t matter if this actually vindicates him because it squashes the questions for a while. It’s a large weight off his shoulders. He might actually sleep in tomorrow.

Josh Jacobs

A career-high 123 yards rushing. The first back to rush for more than 54 yards on the Bears this season and just the third back to go over 100 yards since the start of 2018. And he scored the game-winning touchdown. I smell rookie of the week honors.

Raiders offensive line

Jacobs wasn’t the only one to pick up yards against the Bears on Sunday. By halftime the Raiders already had more yards than any team had against them in any full game this season. Derek Carr went unsacked in the game with Mack getting to him just once. They had a bold strategy of going right after the Bears’ biggest strength and they had them on their heels all day. Something few teams have done to them the past couple seasons.

Tottenham

This was the first ever game played in the brand new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. It is a gorgeous state-of-the-art facility. Not only is a gem for the city of Tottenham, but this game was a gem to watch. With several runs and lead changes and a late drive for an exciting come-from-behind, 97-yard, game-winning drive. The NFL was introduced to Tottenham in spectacular fashion. Likewise Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was introduced to the NFL.

Losers

Kevin Pierre-Louis

That game-winning drive shouldn’t have happened. The Raiders had punted the ball away. But Pierre-Louis was flagged for running into the kicker to turn fourth and six into fourth and one. The Raiders were at their own 27, but in need of a touchdown, so they changed their punt to a fake on a direct snap to Erik Harris who picked it up and the Raiders drove the rest of the way to get the touchdown they needed. Without the penalty on Pierre-Louis, the Bears would have had the ball near midfield only needing a few yards to get in scoring range to extend their lead.

Akiem Hicks

Hicks missed a practice this week and was questionable for the game. He started the game, but his day would end quickly. He was down on the field and would leave the game with an elbow injury not to return. In a game which featured 169 yards rushing by the opponent and ended 24-21 on a late game-winning drive, you have to figure losing your Pro Bowl defensive tackle played a part in that.

Chase Daniel

Even after the game-winning drive, the Bears had time to drive for a tie or the win. That ended when there was a miscommunication between Daniel and receiver Anthony Miller and Daniel’s pass was thrown into the waiting arms of Gareon Conley instead. With 1;22 left, the Raiders were basically able to run the clock down to give the Bears no time to mount another scoring drive. Daniel had thrown a pick in the second quarter as well which led to the Raiders second touchdown.

Oakland

This game was really exciting. It was a ‘home’ game, but only in the sense that the Raiders lost an actual home game to play in it. They tried to make the Raiders feel like home by running montages of Raiders greats on the jumbotrons, painting the end zones “OAKLAND” and “RAIDERS”, and hanging Raiders banners up all over. But that isn’t what makes a team feel at home. The fans do that. And this was a Bears crowd. The Raiders constantly had to deal with booing whenever they took the field or left it and ran their offense to a deafening roar. They still rose to the occasion in an exciting game which Oakland deserved to see in their actual home stadium. Those fans would have been going crazy for the Raiders and giving them the adoration they deserved when they made a big play and the quiet they needed on offense. One of the best Raiders games I’ve seen in a while was taken from Oakland and played on the other side of the planet.