Bernstein: Bears' Loss Starts Up Front

The Raiders manhandled the Bears in the trenches in a 24-21 win.

Dan Bernstein
October 06, 2019 - 4:12 pm
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(670 The Score) It was there for them, another miracle escape after so much misery, right up among some of the best comeback efforts in memory.

Alas, the Royal Crown Their Ass game this was not, and the Bears didn't deserve to win Sunday.

We can go back and forth all we want with any of the wild swings and individual moments of Chicago's 24-21 loss to Oakland over three mostly entertaining hours of London evening, but riding the emotional ups and downs of the scoreboard would miss Sherwood Forest for the trees. The Bears were bested in this one on the lines, on both sides. The Raiders' fat guys were better than the Bears' fat guys.

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Chase Daniel rarely had the luxury of advantageous down-and-distance, with the running game stuck in neutral. Kyle Long is a shell of what he was and now seems to struggle to anchor ​himself. Charles Leno Jr.'s now-constant mistakes and flagged plays also need to be addressed. There were no holes for David Montgomery, and his ability to run through contact was expected to be valuable against the second and third level of the defense instead of being wasted hunting for creases near the line of scrimmage. Any time offensive line coach Harry Hiestand wants to remind us how good he is at this, we're ready. Because asking Daniel to make plays on his own only ends up exposing his obvious shortcomings in more dramatic fashion, though it keeps allowing Allen Robinson to show how special he is. The tight ends are missing in action too.

Khalil Mack was neutralized by a game plan that featured Josh Jacobs running hard and fast and kept quarterback Derek Carr from being a stationary target. The Raiders' physicality in run blocking just flat whipped the Bears, a surprising turn after their recent dominance. Missed tackles haunted the Bears all over, too, as did another round of stupid and avoidable penalties. Something had been weird with Roquan Smith all week, and it appeared to carry over into a game in which he was too often confused and out of position.

The Bears were down 17-0 at halftime because they were getting pushed around, and even though they woke up and fought back enough to make it fun, that can't take the focus of a team not being ready to play.

Go ahead and make your case for travel schedules and sleep cycles and acclimation time if you want, but we'll never have an objectively satisfactory answer for how that might have mattered. It's all guesswork. Matt Nagy did what most teams do in planning their arrival, while the Raiders made their choice based on being two more time zones away. The fact that the Bears held a four-point lead as late as they did should be enough to take the conversation back to the tangible issues of blocking and tackling.

Even had the Bears won, these problems would be troubling heading into the bye week. The reality of dropping one in which they were believed to be the more talented team must focus their upcoming days of self-scouting before they play again.

"Each person -- every coach, every player -- it's time to start looking at themselves in the mirror and trying to figure out why we're out there," Nagy told reporters after the game. "It's my job to make sure it gets better."

It has to start on the lines, which can't continue to be outperformed across the board as they were Sunday. Big problems can only start to be solved by solidifying the areas where all the action begins.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in midday. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan_Bernstein.