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The Morning After: Raiders vs Bears

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

What’s that sound you hear? Oh, it’s just Raider Nation still celebrating yesterday’s huge win against the Chicago Bears, that’s all.

The fact that Khalil Mack wouldn’t even speak to reporters after the game is absolutely the cherry on top too. I have nothing against Khalil Mack, and I am withholding my opinion on the final tally on the trade that sent him to Chicago, but damn does it feel great to have shut him down like that.

There are a lot of people who think he was shut out altogether, but I can’t go that far. He did get the only big hit on Derek Carr and he did end up getting the fumble recovery that almost doomed the Raiders in this game altogether. I don’t care if it was a freebie, that play was a huge turning point in the game and I hated seeing that it was Mack who came up with the ball.

Still, that was shut down when it comes to Mack standards. The offensive line was so dominant in this game that it was ridiculous in fact. The Bears defensive line is probably the best in the league, and the Raiders blew up the line of scrimmage over and over again. When you talk about imposing your will on the other team, this is exactly what that means.

Then for the team to turn things around after the Bears took the lead and have the offensive line return to bulldozing Chicago’s defensive line, you can’t ask for more from that unit. Tom Cable has been much maligned in his tenure as OL coach, but he has this unit playing above their immense potential now and that is special. Especially with the thought of Gabe Jackson likely being back for their next game in Green Bay.

A big part of the reason that the offensive line played so well was the motivation they had from watching Josh Jacobs run the ball. Raiders RT Trent Brown said it best when he said of Jacobs “That motherfucker can run the ball”. Yes he can, and for him to do it against Khalil Mack as the first of two 1st rounders that Oakland gets in that trade from Chicago made it even better.

There are plenty of people exclaiming that Josh Jacobs means that the Raiders won that trade, but it doesn’t accomplish that yet. Mack is a hall of famer, Jacobs has a long way to go before anyone can claim he is more valuable. However, if he keeps playing this well for years to come AND they hit on next year’s extra 1st rounder, then there wouldn’t be any doubt that the Raiders made a Herschel Walker like trade of a superstar in their prime and won the day.

I don’t even care anyway anymore, because the Raiders look like they have a star running back now and that is the #1 thing that Jon Gruden needs for his offense to be successful. He can make a game manager QB work, but he needs a powerful run game for his offense to go anywhere. That is exactly what this game just accomplished, they now found their identity behind the legs of Josh Jacobs.

As for the QB in Gruden’s system? Derek Carr did exactly what he needed to do to beat the Bears yesterday and it was glorious to watch. There hasn’t been a lot said about Carr so far in these Morning After articles, but he deserves high praise for yesterday’s work. He was efficient, but he didn’t try too hard to do everything himself except for a small part of the game right after the failed pitch (which was on Jacobs not hearing the audible, not on Carr) that almost ruined this great win.

Instead, he took a step back and allowed the running game to be the star of the show. He dinked and dunked his way through the Bears defense as well, but it wasn’t in his frustrating check down fashion. It was the design of the game plan, it was dinking and dunking to compliment the run game and continue to impose the will of the Raiders.

That was a death by a thousand cuts offense and it worked to perfection. It was such a great game plan by Jon Gruden, you can’t say enough of how well this game was designed by Gruden. He beat the Bears before this game ever started by strategizing to beat them at their own game, and by traveling early to not have to battle the London time change. The Bears flew in on Friday and they looked out of sorts for most of the game, that’s not a coincidence.

Then for the defense to turn things around and save the victory for Oakland, that is part of what made this game one of the most fun games to watch in years. They even overcame one of the worst roughing the passer calls in NFL history on Mo Hurst, one which stole an interception away from the Oakland defense at that.

Hurst had an awakening type of game altogether, he had two sacks and that hit that caused an interception even if it didn’t count. He had been quiet so far this season after a very good rookie year so it was especially great to see him be so disruptive. He deserves a game ball for his effort, and I hope this is a turning point for him to meet his full potential.

Next up for the Raiders they have their bye week, and at 3-2 now they get to have their week off feeling mighty fine. After that they go back on the grind to play the Green Bay Packers who are looking like one of the elite teams this year at 4-1 but that’s 2 weeks from now so we get awhile to enjoy this victory.

For Oakland to start out this ridiculous road trip with that loss to the Vikings, it was looking like a worst case scenario sort of circumstance. With them getting 2 straight victories against playoff caliber teams it feels like a night and day difference. Now if they can beat Green Bay, well then it will be time to talk about just how good this team could end up being this year after all.

PS, this rookie class is looking freaking awesome.