Oakland Raiders Can’t Overcome Slow Start, Miscues In Loss


The Oakland Raiders would almost certainly love to have a do-over of today’s game against the Chicago Bears. They rolled into the Windy City, riding high on a two game win streak and at 2-1, defying the expectations of many. But the good feelings of the last two weeks evaporated quickly in that cold Lake Michigan wind and Oakland leaves town 2-2 and looking for some answers.

From the start of the game, the Raiders knew they were going to be in a dogfight. On the game’s opening drive, Jay Cutler led the Bears down the field for a touchdown and 6-0 lead. About the only that went right for Oakland on that drive was that Bears kicker Robbie Gould missed the PAT.

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Oakland eventually responded early on in the second quarter when Derek Carr lofted a beautiful 26 yard pass into the corner of the endzone that rookie phenom Amari Cooper hauled in for the score. The Raiders’ offense appeared to be getting back on track when Dan Williams recovered a Cutler fumble, giving Oakland the ball on the Bears’ 25 yard line. Three plays later, Carr hit running back Roy Helu for a four yard score, making it 14-6.

But that’s about where the fireworks ended.

The Raiders offense sputtered out, scoring just two field goals the rest of the way. For the day, Carr was 20 of 33 for 196 yards with two touchdowns and an interception – an interception that should actually be credited to Latavius Murray, which was just another piece of his nightmare day.

An injured Michael Crabtree led the offense with 80 yards on five catches, and Amari Cooper was largely held in check by the Chicago defense, notching just four catches – on nine targets – for 49 yards and the score. No other Raiders pass catcher had more than 16 receiving yards.

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As unimpressive as the offense was today though, the Raiders’ defense was even worse, proving unable to get the stops when the team needed them the most. For the game, the Bears were a staggering 10 for 17 on third down attempts and 1 for 1 on fourth down attempts – with a number of those conversions coming at crucial times in the game.

The Oakland passing defense – down Travis Carrie due to an injury – was cut up by an offense led by Cutler and missing perhaps, its most valuable weapon in Alshon Jeffery. They allowed Cutler to pass for 281 yards and two scores on 28 of 43 passing for the day. They did sack him three times and pressured him numerous others, but Cutler was able to stand back in the pocket too often and pick apart the Raiders’ passing defense.

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  • And for the fourth week in a row, the Raiders were again victimized by the tight end. Martellus Bennett pretty much had his way with the Raiders’ defense, catching 11 passes on 13 targets for 83 yards and a score – a score in which he was literally standing all alone in the back of the endzone.

    It would appear that HC Jack Del Rio and DC Ken Norton haven’t yet figured out how to deactivate that “cloaking device” opposing tight ends are using to abuse the Oakland defense.

    The Raiders did a relatively good job of bottling up Matt Forte who rushed for 91 yards on 25 carries – an average of just 3.6 yards per carry – which keeps their string alive of not allowing a 100 yard rusher this season. But that achievement seems unimportant given the fact that the secondary has also kept alive a streak of not being able to stop anybody when it really counts.

    Though there is plenty of blame to go around for the loss, and no one unit shined, the lion’s share of the blame falls to Oakland’s pass defense as well as third year back Latavius Murray.

    Murray had a positively awful day and never seemed able to hold on to the ball. He fumbled on a simple pitch out. Dropped a couple of easy passes. And bobbled one pass right into the waiting arms of DE Pernell McPhee – that turnover set up a Chicago field goal late in the second quarter to give the Bears a 16-14 lead and the momentum.

    The Raiders struggled in all phases of the game today. The normal rock solid offensive line surrendered a pair of sacks, the running game didn’t do anything of note, the passing game was pretty well grounded for the day, and the defense – oh, the defense. The defense added to their reputation as being among the league’s worst by giving up 371 yards of offense to this offensively challenged Chicago team – a Chicago team that had just 146 yards of total offense and zero points in last week’s loss to Seattle.

    The Raiders were riding high, but the Bears brought them crashing back down to earth. This one game likely will not determine whether or not the Raiders can challenge for the division title or even make the playoffs. But it will hopefully teach them a valuable lesson – that they must stay in the moment, that they can’t lose focus, and that they can’t afford to look beyond the game they are playing.

    As much as they would probably like a do-over, there are no such things in the NFL. The Raiders will have to take the lumps they earned in this one, learn from them, grow from them, and move on quickly – because Denver is now on deck.

    Next: Oakland Raiders vs. Chicago Bears Open Thread