Chicago Bears: Defense stellar, offense does enough to upset Raiders

Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images
Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images /

The Chicago Bears were stellar on the defense and the offense did just enough to help pull off the upset of the Las Vegas Raiders 20-9.

Not many people gave the Chicago Bears a chance of pulling off an upset of the Las Vegas Raiders. The last time the Bears went on the road, to Cleveland, they left with just one passing yard and 47 total yards.

That was two weeks ago, however. The Bears made a few changes since then. Rookie Justin Fields is now QB1 for the rest of the season so he doesn’t have to look over his shoulder at Andy Dalton. Also, head coach Matt Nagy gave up playcalling to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.

Despite the changes, many analysts around the league didn’t give the Bears much of a shot to beat the Raiders. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr came into the game second in the league in passing yards (1,399). He was averaging 349.8 yards and two touchdowns per game. Many people felt that the Bears’ secondary would get burned again.

Instead, the Bears defense harassed Carr so much that the Raiders offense was discombobulated for most of the game. Carr finished the game with 206 passing yards and zero touchdown passes. He also threw an interception. In fact, the Raiders didn’t score a touchdown until there were nine minutes left in the game.

The Chicago Bears defense comes through

This was another example of the defense taking over the game. It wasn’t just the sacks, though. The Bears recorded three sacks in the game. What they did, however, was put a lot of pressure on the Raiders’ backfield. Carr was pressured throughout the game. In addition to the sacks, the Bears also hit Carr four other times. The defense forced him to throw the ball before he wanted. Chicago didn’t allow him to stand in the pocket and carve the secondary.

Additionally, the defense held down the Raiders’ running game. Las Vagas finished the game with just 71 rushing yards, thus putting more pressure on Carr.

Carr’s best buddy, Khalil Mack, was around his pal throughout the game. He had 8 tackles (one for loss), a sack, and a quarterback hit. He was joined by Roquan Smith, who continued to look like a tackling machine, posting 10 tackles. Smith also had a big pass defended, knocking away a pass in the end zone.

Trevis Gipson continued to shine in the few snaps he saw. He recorded two tackles (one for loss), a sack, and a quarterback hit. With Mack, Gipson, and a rejuvenated Robert Quinn, the Bears’ pass rush is very effective.

The Chicago Bears offense contributed as well

We’re all used to seeing the defense carry the offense. While the defense dominated the game, the offense did contribute. Yes, the offense had seven drives that lasted five plays or less. However, they had a touchdown drive that went 10 plays and almost six minutes and another that went 16 plays and over eight minutes.

Those drives did a good job of keeping the defense fresh. The Bears ended up with an advantage in possession of about four minutes (32:02 to 27:58).

Once again, the running game really came through. For the fourth straight game, the Bears had more rushing yards than passing yards (143 to 109). Damien Williams and Khalil Herbert did a fantastic job filling in for the injured David Montgomery. They made some big runs that moved the chains and run time off the clock.

If the running game continues to play like this, Fields will be more comfortable quickly and start making big plays to complement it.

In addition to the long touchdown drives, the offense did contribute in the fourth quarter. They had two drives that ended with Cairo Santos hitting 46-yard field goals. It’s so refreshing to have a kicker who is as automatic as Santos has been the last two seasons. Before we had to hold our breaths because we didn’t know how badly the kicker would miss. Now, though, we feel the confidence that the Bears can seal victories through Santos.

Justin Fields is one tough cookie

As I mentioned, the offense did just enough to help seal the win. Fields didn’t have the greatest of games. He finished 12-of-20 for just 111 yards. He did, however, throw his first NFL touchdown pass.

It seems that the coaching staff is still treating Fields with kid gloves. After the Bears raced out to a 14-3 lead the offense was mostly running the ball. The coaches kept Fields’ throwing to a minimum. Nagy might not have called the plays, but it feels like he had a big influence on what the offense did. Just because he relented and named Fields the starter for the rest of the season doesn’t mean he gained more trust in the rookie.

One thing that was evident with Fields was just how tough he is. We saw that in his game last year against Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal game. He got hit hard, but kept going and destroyed Clemson.

Against the Raiders, he took another beating. In the first quarter, he took off and ran. He didn’t slide and took a big hit. That hit affected him for quite some time.

It looked like the Raiders saw that and they really went after Fields. They were called for a few roughing the passer penalties, possibly trying to shake the rookie.

It didn’t happen, however. One of those penalties occurred on a drive the resulted in the Bears’ first touchdown. They had the ball on their own 28 but started going backward. Fields threw a pass out of bounds that was called a lateral. That cost the Bears seven yards. Then there was a delay of game. The Bears faced a second and 22 from their own 16.

Fields then completed a four-yard pass to Allen Robinson. The Raiders hit Fields late and that gave the Bears an automatic first down.  From there, it appeared as if the offense woke up. Fields marched his teammates down the field. Then the Raiders roughed up Fields again and were called for it again. This time it was in the red zone. The Bears ended up with a Fields touchdown pass to Jesper Horsted.

Later in the game, all of Chicago Bears Nation held their collective breath when Fields took off again. When he was tackled, his left leg twisted while planted. That could have been a very serious injury, but Fields came back a few plays later. Again, he led the offense to a touchdown, this time a Williams four-yard run.

Nagy spoke on Fields’ toughness in the game:

"That son of a buck is tough. ‘He proved that when he was in college. He proved it out here."

Fields’ toughness continued into the fourth quarter. He made what was probably the biggest play of the game. With the Bears facing a third-and-12 from their own 27, the Raiders had a chance to take control of the game’s momentum. They just scored a touchdown to make the score 14-9. They could have taken the ball and taken the lead with another touchdown.

Instead, Fields dropped back and threw a bullet to Darnell Mooney for 13 yards. The Raiders had four defenders at the first down marker trying to stop the conversion. A few plays later, Santos hit a field goal to extend the lead to 17-9.

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This was by no means a pretty game. However, the Bears did exactly what they needed to get the upset win. This game was the start of a tough four-game stretch and winning really was a great first step. Next week, they face their hated rivals, the Green Bay Packers, at Soldier Field. Hopefully, they come up with another upset.