Chicago Sun-Times

Bears' offense, defense take blame for loss to Raiders

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The Bears' offense and defense were both pointing fingers after a 25-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday -- at themselves.

''We should have won that football game based on the way our offense played,'' middle linebacker Brian Urlacher said after the Bears dropped to 7-4. ''We didn't play well enough on defense. We gave up too many big plays, didn't get enough takeaways. That's why we didn't win.''

Not so, said running back Matt Forte.

''We have to help out our defense. They were playing lights out,'' Forte said. ''If we gave them more help we could have won this game.''

There was plenty of blame to go around as the Bears dropped a winnable road game. The offense was clearly the bigger culprit, but had a built-in excuse with Caleb Hanie making is first NFL start.

The Bears had a season-high 401 yards of total offense. But Hanie gave back 99 of those with three interceptions. Kamerion Wimbley's 73-yard interception return late in the second quarter was at least a six-point swing.

The Bears had a chance to take a 12-9 or 16-9 lead at halftime. Instead, the Raiders led 12-7 when Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 19-yard field goal just before halftime.

The defense gave the Bears a chance by holding the Raiders to six field goals that allowed the Bears to creep within 18-13 with 7:17 to play. But the defense also broke down at inopportune times.

Immediately after the Bears overcame two Hanie interceptions to take a 7-6 lead on Hanie's 29-yard touchdown pass to Johnny Knox with 2:56 left in the first half, the Raiders regained the momentum when fullback Marcel Reese turned a screen pass into a 47-yard gain to the Bears 33-yard line. The defense stiffened from there and forced the Raiders to settle for Janikowski's 42-yard field goal of ra 9-7 lead.

And after bending all day, the defense finally broke in the fourth quarter. After Robbie Gould's 53-yard field goal cut the Raiders' lead to 18-13 with 7:17 to play, the Raiders faced a third-and-four from midfield. But Carson Palmer -- who was 19-of-35 for 250 yards, no touchdowns and one interception and a 65.2 passer rating to that point -- dropped back and burned Bears cornerback Tim Jennings with a 47-yard pass to Louis Murphy down the right sideline. That gave the Raiders a first-and-goal at the Bears 3. Michael Bush scored on the next play to give the Raiders a 25-13 lead with 3:47 left.

So Urlacher was not buying the argument that the offense put the Bears in a big hole with the three interceptions.

''What was it 7-6?,'' he said. ''Even after all that we were still in the game. Even at the end of the game they got the ball with five-and-a-half minutes and we had a chance to sep them and we gave up a touchdown. It's not good defense.''

Despite the three interceptions, the Bears seemed genuinely encouraged by Hanie's performance. Hanie finished 18-of-36 for 254 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, a 56.9 rating. Cutler had a 60.2 rating against the Buccaneers in London and he's been doing this for six seasons.

''I thought he did a good job,'' Urlacher said. ''He had a couple of picks -- that's going to happen. The tipped ball was a nice play by them. He'll get better. I don't think he did a bad job today. He kept us in the game. And if we play better defense, we win the game.''

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I was at the game, here's what I saw:

1. Over and above everything else, the Bear coaches lost the game. The screen pass near the end of the 1st half that was intercepted was one of the most idiotic calls I've ever seen and created a 6-10 point turnaround, which was the game.

2. The offensive line basically stunk until the Raider defense got tired near the end of the game. Hanie rarely had two seconds to throw and they didn't open any holes for Forte.

3. The defense played really well, forget what Urlacher said in public. The Raiders are one of the top rushing teams in the league and the Bears shut them down, very impressive. The defense gave up some big plays, but the Raiders are very talented offensively and that's to be expected.

This was a fun game to be at. Too bad the Bears ran out of time or they might have pulled it out.

Actually it sounds like the offense and defense played well enough to beat their counterparts. The game was lost on the difference in special teams.

Well it could have been worse, the Raiders could have been healthy. Or somewhat healthy. The defense played well a lot of the game but was put in bad positions, even so every defense will tell you they didn't play good enough unless they gave up zero and scored a few times themselves. They missed some big picks, and Conte was late all day with help.

On offense Hanie settled in late and that was to be expected, not many QB's come out and light things up and make zero mistakes when they have never been a starter before. Martz got a little to clever for his own good again, and what was with the Bears hanging Forte out to dry. They took away his lead blocker and gave it to Barber the last couple of weeks. Is Angelo trying to make a wierd point? It just seems strange that they stopped giving him a lead blocker. He clearly runs better with one like most backs do.

Almost all the pressure in the game was generated by Peppers who spent all day being bounced around inside and out. On fire for the first 20 or so plays, the Raiders keyed into him which allowed other guys to rush one on one or unblocked, sometimes just being chiped. If this is the only way they can get pressure they need to upgrade the D-Line. If Peppers gets hurt or has a nagging on field injury it will be a problem for the line in a big way as they have no number two guy.

Raiders did a lot to try and help the Bears out, and the Bears did not capitolize on it. Cutler would have just shredded the Raiders who played stupid football all day, which is to be expected by the Raiders.

Even though it was his first real start, Hanie could have played better, he made some really bad choices, next time eat it kid, sometimes you gotta take the sack. He could of run a few times but instead made bad throws, in risky situations. There are people who wanted Hanie over Cutler for a couple of years now, well you got your wish, hope your happy. Don't worry the Chiefs should help him out, maybe.

I thought the Bears played really hard, but it was not there best performance on either side of the ball. The black hole is clearly a strange place to play, I kept waiting to see Tina Turner and Mel Gibson, I am surprised they have not started chanting "two teams enter, one team leave."

Wait? The Bears coaches screwed up a game? i am not alone in thinking that week after week....

Don't know whether you could see it on TV, but the Raiders loaded up against Forte. The Bears should have thrown some long passes to make the Raiders play more honest defense, but they mostly dinked and dunked til the game was almost over. People are complaining they didn't run enough because they're looking at the stats, but what happened was that Forte had one really big run and a couple of other decent ones; other than those, he was stopped.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on November 27, 2011 7:57 PM.

Hester active for Raiders game; Enderle No. 2 QB was the previous entry in this blog.

Hanie rues missed opportunities in first NFL start is the next entry in this blog.

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