Game Balls: Raiders vs Bears

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Raiders vs

Bears     Raiders vs Bears   

The Oakland Raiders’ Week 5 match-up against the Chicago Bears at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England was filled with a ton of storylines. The Raiders had never won a game in London and were blown out by the Seattle Seahawks last year 27-3. Raiders head coach Jon Gruden took that experience and learned from it. Gruden had his team in London a day after their win against the Colts getting ready for the Bears. He wanted his team to get used to the environment and time change.

Another storyline, outlined by myself and Your Boy Q on the latest edition of The Q & A Raiders Podcast, was the fact that the Bears left Thursday night on a red-eye flight. We thought that the Raiders getting to London early would benefit them and the Bears getting there late would hurt them. We referenced the Raiders vs Seahawks game last year where Gruden took that same method as the Bears and the result wasn’t great, so he changed it up and it worked. The Raiders looked fresh, dialed-in, and focused, while the Bears looked sluggish and uninspired.

The final storyline was the biggest for the fans and the media; Khalil Mack playing his former team.

The Raiders traded Mack and a second-round pick in 2020 and a conditional fifth-round pick in 2020 for first-round picks in 2019 (which they used to draft RB Josh Jacobs) and 2020, a third-round pick in 2020 and a sixth-round pick in 2019. When talking to Deion Sanders of the NFL Network he said “That’s the one I’m looking forward to,” Mack continued “I can’t lie to you, man. It’s going to be a big one.”

When it was all said and done on Sunday Jacobs and the Raiders came away with a 24-21 victory leaving Mack and the Bears speechless, literally. Mack left the locker room before the reporters came in after the game. What it also did was give the Raiders and Raider Nation a legitimate shot and thought of making the playoffs.

The Raiders played one of their best games of the year on Sunday, so it’s time to honor them and give out my “Game Balls.”

 

 

Game Balls - Week 5 - Raiders vs Bears
Photo courtesy of Raiders.com

Josh Jacobs:

Once again, Josh Jacobs gets a game ball from me, his third this season. The young running back has quickly become the Raiders’ best offensive player. Gruden gave the Bears a full serving of Jacobs to the tune of 26 carries for 123 yards, 2 touchdowns to go along with 3 catches for 20 yards. But Jacobs’ vision and ability to pick up the tough yard kept the Raiders in control the entire game, for the most part. To me, the rookie is the Raiders best player and has given the team an identity they have lacked for a number of years.

 

 

Game Balls - Week 5 - Raiders vs Bears
Photo Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Carr:

Carr orchestrated the Raiders offense to near perfection on Sunday. He made clutch throws into tight windows in critical parts of the game. He came up big on 3rd down and when the Raiders needed a drive to re-take the lead in the 4th quarter, Carr led them down the field for the game-winning touchdown. Carr stood tall in the pocket and faced the fire while making big throw after big throw. Carr finished the day 25/32 for 229 yards and showed the leadership and guile you want out of your quarterback.

 

 

Game Balls - Week 5 - Raiders vs Bears
Photo courtesy of Silver and Black Pride

The Raiders Offensive Line:

The Raiders offensive line played their asses off all game. The opened huge holes for Jacobs, kept Carr clean for the most part, and neutralized Khalil Mack all game, frustrating the former Raider. The Raiders ran for 159 yards in total and Jacobs was the first running back to run for over 100 yards against the Bears defense this season. The Raiders controlled the line of scrimmage and dominated the Bears front four all game long.

 

 

Game Balls - Week 5 - Raiders vs Bears
Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders Defense:

The Raiders defense stepped up to the challenge and held a Bears offense led by head coach Matt Nagy to 236 total yards. They pressured quarterback Chase Daniels all game and forced the Bears into difficult 3rd down situations. Aside from the 3rd quarter, the Raiders defense dominated the Bears. Led by Nicholas Morrow (4 tackles, 1 interception), Karl Joseph (4 tackles), Maurice Hurst (2 sacks) and Erik Harris (6 tackles and 1 rush for 2 yards on 4th down), the Raiders defense showed that they can play with anyone, including a team that won their division last season.

 

 

Game Balls - Week 5 - Raiders vs Bears
Photo courtesy of ABC7 San Francisco

The Raiders Front Office:

As I stated one of the storylines was the Raiders going to London earlier in the week while the Bears chose to get there on Friday. The Raider front office knew that their young team needed time to adjust to the weather, air, and atmosphere in Europe. They also wanted them to enjoy the trip during their downtime. They learned that from last season and were determined to not make that same mistake again.

Because of that, the team came away with their first win in Europe in franchise history. Kudos to Gruden, general manager Mike Mayock and owner Mark Davis for making this schedule adjustment to give their team the best chance to win, which they did.

Raiders vs Bears     Raiders vs Bears   

Joe Arrigo

Joe is the Co-Founder of Franchise Sports Media and co-host of The Q&A Raiders Podcast. Here is where you can follow Joe on social media:

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