By Shawn Jonas
CHICAGO, Ill.– The Oakland Raiders conservative play calling on final offensive drive, and two turnovers cost them their second straight road win. Jay Cutler vindicated himself following an interception by driving his squad down the field on a 12 play 48-yard drive in the last 2:02 and two timeouts. The drive set up a 49-yard field goal attempt with :07 remaining by Robbie Gould on Sunday. The ball split the uprights with :02 on the clock leading the Chicago Bears to a 22-20 victory over the Raiders.
The Raiders Last Offensive Drive
The Raiders (2-2) grabbed the lead on a field goal by Sebastian Janikowski with just over two minutes remaining set up by an interception by Charles Woodson deep in Oakland territory.
The drive started on Oaklands 9-yard line following Woodsons’ interception. The drive started with a nice mix of run and pass including a deep 25 yard pass to Michael Crabtree to Oaklands’ 34 yard line. The next play Roy Helu Jr. squirted up the middle of the field for a 12 yard gain down to Chicago’s 41. Following an incompletion Carr completed a 8 yard gain to Mychal Rivera who was pushed out of bounds on the 33. That was the last time Oakland passed the ball. The next four plays would be run plays by Helu Jr.
3rd and 2 – CHI 33
(4:21) 26-R.Helu left guard to CHI 30 for 3 yards (96-J.Jenkins).
1st and 10 – CHI 30
(3:41) 26-R.Helu left guard to CHI 26 for 4 yards (59-C.Jones).
2nd and 6 – CHI 26
(2:56) 26-R.Helu right guard to CHI 22 for 4 yards (23-K.Fuller).
Timeout #1 by CHI at 02:50.
3rd and 2 – CHI 22
(2:50) 26-R.Helu left guard to CHI 23 for -1 yards (92-P.McPhee).
4th and 3 – CHI 23
(2:10) ( 11-S.Janikowski 41 yard field goal
With the last four play calls being run plays, it was if the coaching staff were satisfied with kicking a field goal and trusting their defense to win a third straight game.
Question: On the last one were you thinking field goal? Or just didn’t want to throw the ball all around?
Derek Carr – “We always think we’re in Bass’ range whenever you cross the fifty, but the point there is if you can get the first down there, then yeah.”
Carr later added “I just do whats called”.
On offensive struggles:
Carr – “They had the ball a lot in the first half, Its hard to get in a rhythm. Still so much to get better at in a short week ”
Question: What were they doing in coverage?
Carr – “Yeah they liked to double Amari a lot. They liked to give help to those guys. I don’t blame them he’s a good football player.
Donald Penn, Post Game – Locker Room
Question: What cost you this game?
Donald Penn – “I can’t tell you that, can you guys tell me,” Penn said. “We had opportunities we gotta score touchdowns instead of field goals. that would help. We gotta be better on our opportunities when we get them. We can’t let them go.”
Question: What cost you this game?
Charles Woodson – “Defensively, staying on the field too long. Not getting off the field on third down. Especially before the half we had them at 3rd and 14. They threw a quick check down in the flat. They got a first down. They go down and end up scoring. Then we turn the ball over. When you have those things, not getting off on third down and turnovers, its hard to win games like that.”
Raiders Tired Defense
The coaching staffs third down run call would suggest they were alright with leaning on a defense to close out the game. The same defense that had been on the field most of afternoon. The Bears owned the time of posession battle with 33:22 . At one point they had a 10 minute advantage around half-time.
The offense had multiple 3-and-outs in the first half. A vanilla inside running scheme with the majority coming on the offensive lines right side was the theme of the day. The Raiders ended the day with only 70 rushing yards.
Different Game Plan?
In their two previous wins Oakland had thrown the ball to open up running lanes. The game plan was different in Chicago. Derek Carr and the passing game wasn’t as efficient when they did throw against the Bears. Carr threw the ball 33 times with 20 completions for 219 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also had one interception that wasn’t his fault.
Latavius Murray had a rough day. He had 16 carries for 49-yards rushing with only a 3.1 yard average. He was responsible for two turnovers a fumbled pitch on an outside running play that Chicago recovered . He was also to blame on an interception where the ball deflected off his chest into Bears outside linebacker Pernell McPhee’s hands. Bears started on the Raiders 15 yard-line. Oaklands’ defense held Chicago to just a field goal. Murray also added 3 receptions for 13 yards. He struggled catching the ball after taking a shot to his right shoulder that took him out of the game briefly in the first half.
Murray – “Me having those two turnovers hurt us a lot. We gotta find a way to win these tight games. Again… I’ll play better, keep my head up, and get back to work.”
The Bears shook off two embarrassing losses, including their first shutout since 2002 last week at Seattle, to give Fox his first victory since he was hired in the offseason. The win came at the expense of Oakland coach Jack Del Rio, his defensive coordinator in Carolina and Denver. And it capped a busy week that saw Chicago trade Jared Allen to Carolina.
Cutler completed 28 of 43 passes for 281 yards after missing a game because of a strained hamstring. Matt Forte had 91 yards rushing and 64 receiving. Martellus Bennett caught 11 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. Marquess Wilson added 80 yards receiving. Eddie Royal caught a touchdown on the game’s opening possession.
The Bears lost center Will Montgomery (ankle) on the opening possession. Cutler looked sharp right from the start, orchestrating an 80-yard touchdown drive to a 7-yard scoring pass to Royal. Gould’s extra point got blocked.
Game Notes From Chicago
Janikowski Ties Tim Brown’s Games Played Record
K Sebastian Janikowski played in his 240th game as a Raider, tying the franchise record also held by Tim Brown. Janikowski will have the opportunity to set the franchise games played record next week against Denver.
Janikowski converted two field goals and two extra points in the game, improving his season record to 7-for-7 from the field and 10-for-10 on extra points for 31 total points.
Woodson Moves Into Top 10
Charles Woodson hauled in his second fourth-quarter interception in the last two games, giving him 62 career interceptions, tying him with Dick Lebeau and Davie Brown for ninth on the all-time list.
Woodson has at least two picks in back-to-back seasons for the first time as a Raider, becoming the first Raider to do it since Stanford Routt from 2010-11.
Crabtree Leads Receivers; Cooper Taps His Toes
WR Michael Crabtree led the team with five receptions and 80 receiving yards, giving him 23 catches and 264 yards on the season with one touchdown.
WR Amari Cooper hauled in four passes for 49 yards in the contest, including a 26-yard touchdown pass from Carr in the second quarter for his second career touchdown.
Crabtree and Cooper are the first pair of Raiders teammates since 2005 (LaMont Jordan, Randy Moss), and the second pair in franchise history, to each record at least four receptions in each of the team’s first four games.
Carr Tosses Two Touchdowns
QB Derek Carr finished the game 20-for-33 passing for 196 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Carr had two first-half touchdowns for the third time in his career, and the first time in back-to-back games.
Carr now has 28 career passing touchdowns, moving him ahead of Tom Flores (27) for the most by a Raider through his first two seasons.
Three Timely Takeaways
The Raiders defense produced three key takeaways in the game, two fumble recoveries and one Charles Woodson interception. That marks the first time the Raiders have had three takeaways since Sept. 28, 2014 at Miami.
Two Team TD’s
The Raiders offense has posted at least two touchdowns in six straight games for the first time since Weeks 6-11 of the 2012 season.
The offense has produced two passing touchdowns in four straight games, the longest stretch since Weeks 8-11 in 2012.
Helu, Jr. Finds the End Zone
RB Roy Helu, Jr. scored his first touchdown as a Raider on a 4-yard reception in the second quarter, marking his fourth career receiving score.
Helu, Jr. was also a key part of the offense late in the game, carrying the ball five times for 22 yards and finishing the game with two receptions for 13 yards.
Williams and McGee Recover Key Fumbles
DT Dan Williams came up with a fumbled snap by the Bears to give the Raiders control on the Bears’ 25-yard line. That marks Williams’ second career fumble recovery and his first since 2012.
DT Stacy McGee recovered a Matt Forte fumble in the third quarter, his second career fumble recovery. The ball was forced out by CB David Amerson, his first career forced fumble.
Aldon Smith Notches First Raiders Sack
LB Aldon Smith closed the first half with a 5-yard sack, his first as an Oakland Raider and the 45th of his career. Smith’s last sack came on Nov. 23, 2014 vs. Washington.
Mack and Tuck Get to Cutler
DE Khalil Mack and DE Justin Tuck each reached Bears QB Jay Cutler for a sack, with Mack’s 1-yard sack coming late in the fourth quarter. Mack now has three sacks on the season.
Tuck’s sack gives him 66.5 career sacks, six as a Raider and his first of the season.
Malcolm Smith Leads Tacklers
LB Malcolm Smith again led the Raiders in tackling with 10 stops (nine solo), adding a quarterback pressure and a forced fumble in the contest, according to unofficial press box statistics. Smith now has four career forced fumbles and his first as a Raider.
Blocked Extra Point
DE Denico Autry stuck a hand up and blocked Robbie Gould’s extra point attempt in the first quarter, marking the Raiders’ second blocked extra point attempt this season (Justin Tuck, Sept. 13, 2015 vs. Cin.).