Since Jon Gruden returned to the sidelines last year there hasn’t been many big moments for the coach who is in his second stint with the team. Sunday in London, Gruden finally got his signature win.
There’s no doubt this game had a little extra juice with Khalil Mack facing off with his former team for the first time since being traded. As much as Gruden wanted to down play the match up, deep down you know he wanted this one bad.
As in previous weeks the Raiders got off to an excellent start getting 17 points on their opening four possessions. Going into the game the Bears defense was only giving up 12 points per game. The defense came out firing on all cylinders as well, allowing 29 total yards and zero points in the first half.
However, that fast start came to a screeching halt in the second half. The Raiders next four possessions resulted in a fumble, punt, punt, fumble. The Bears capitalized on the Raiders misfortunes scoring 21 unanswered points.
The play of the game came with 5:48 remaining in the game, Raiders trailing 21-17. On a fourth and one Gruden showed some big time guts by calling a fake punt which resulted in a first down.
Eight plays and 69 yards later the Raiders took the lead for good on a two yard Josh Jacobs touchdown. The Raiders would go on to win the game 24-21.
Now let’s take a look at the Raiders week five report card.
Aerial Attack: B+
It wasn’t flashy from a numbers standpoint but it was exactly what the Raiders needed from Derek Carr and offensive skill players through the air.
Carr finished the night 25 of 32 (78%) with 229 yards, spreading the ball around to nine different receivers. Although there were no touchdown passes, trailing by four Carr led the offense on a 13-play, 97 yard game winning drive. His biggest throw of the game was on he final possession connecting with Foster Moreau on a beautiful 16 yard pass to set up Jacobs touchdown.
Speaking of Moreau, he led the team with four catches on five targets for 46 yards. The trio of tight ends Moreau, Waller, and Carrier caught 10 balls for 110 yards.
Ground Game: A+
The Bears defense has many strengths but their biggest is against the run. Opponents average only 61 yards per game on the ground versus the defense.
That changed on Sunday. Josh Jacobs had his best game as rookie racking up 123 yards on 26 carries with two touchdowns. It was the first 100 yard game for Jacobs. Twice Jacobs was injured with an elbow injury and was questionable to return. The rookie toughed it out and finished the game.
As a whole the team rushed 39 times for 169 yards. It must be noted that fullback Alec Ingold is a major reason for Jacobs success on the ground. Ingold has been excellent as a lead blocker, including taking out Khalil Mack on Jacobs first touchdown run.
Offensive Line: A+
The Bears have one of the best front seven’s in football and the Raiders offensive line totally dominated from start to finish. Ritchie Incognito fought through a back injury and Denzelle Good filled in for injured back up right guard Jordan Devey who was placed on IR.
Despite those factors, the line did not miss a beat. They were dominant in run blocking opening up holes for backs to pick up 169 yards and the biggest factor of the game was they did not allow a single sack.
Khalil Mack, Leonard Floyd, and the rest of the Bears pass rushers were a non-factor in the game.
Defensive Line: A
If you had said before the game the Raiders would finish with four sacks and the Bears zero you would have been called crazy. Maurice Hurst (2 sacks), Benson Mayowa, and Maxx Crosby all got in on the fun.
It was Crosby’s first sack as a Raiders and Mayowa collected his fourth sack on the year. There were other times the pass rush was effective and although they did not get home it was a factor in the play.
An example of this was on Gareon Conley’s interception of Chase Daniel. Corey Liuget applied pressure up the middle, got his hands in the face of Daniels and effected the throw which resulted in an interception.
As they have been most of the year the line was stout against the run allowing only 42 yards on 17 attempts.
Playing without their leader and play caller, Vontaze Burfict the linebackers held up well. Nicholas Morrow made a big play intercepting Chase Daniel in the second quarter that led to the Raiders second touchdown of the game.
Tahir Whitehead who took over green dot duties for the defense had six tackles.
It wasn’t a great game from the secondary, especially when you consider they were facing a back up quarterback. They had a difficult time dealing with Allen Robinson who had a big day catching two touchdowns with 97 yards.
Gareon Conley did come up with a interception with 1:22 remaining in the game. It might have been the easiest interception Conley will ever make but nonetheless it still counts.
Daniel finished the night 22 of 30 with 231 yards and two touchdowns.
Overall Grade: A-