Oakland Raiders: Notes and Observations From Week Four

6 of 10

Oct 4, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) gestures before a snap against the Oakland Raiders during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Where Was The Pressure?

Last week against the Browns, the Raiders were incredibly effective in their pass rush. They had defenders coming from all over the field, flying to the ball, and getting a ton of pressure on Josh McCown. The pressure was so heavy, the defense notched their first five sacks of the season.

Against the Bears though, it seemed as if Norton took his foot off the accelerator. Rather than building on that momentum, and taking advantage of that 3-4 hybrid scheme that seemed to work wonders against Cleveland, the Raider defense seemed to back off a bit. Less blitzes were run and the Raiders seemed to use more four man rushes than anything.

Though Oakland did notch a trio of sacks – Aldon Smith and Justin Tuck each recorded their first on the season and Khalil Mack got his third – by and large, there was no pressure to be had. Cutler had all day to sit back and pick apart the Oakland defense. Which he did. Fairly effectively.

For the day, Cutler was 28 of 43 for 281 yards and a pair of scores. While it’s not an eye popping stat line, when Cutler needed to make throws to sustain drives or get Chicago out of trouble, he was able to make them.

On critical plays, such as some of those third down conversions, Cutler usually faced a four man rush, little to no pressure and for the most part, had a clean pocket to operate in. Under conditions like that, it’s no wonder that he was able to pick apart Oakland’s defense. A telling stat is that of Chicago’s 23 first downs on the day, 17 of those were via the pass.

Norton is calling plays like he’s afraid of getting burned and losing. He needs to have an attack first and then continue to attack mindset – and Del Rio needs to instill that into him. Otherwise, if they contnue to back off on critical downs, they’re setting the defense up to fail – as was proven against the Bears.

Next: Big Men Down