Emma: Bears-Raiders Observations

Chicago fell to 3-2 with a 24-21 loss to Oakland in London.

Chris Emma
October 06, 2019 - 5:11 pm
Categories: 

(670 The Score) For all the fanfare that went into this London trip, the Bears didn't do their part. They came out flat, squandered a late lead and fell 24-21 to the Raiders at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

Here are the takeaways from a disappointing performance from the Bears:

Running on empty

The Bears' rushing game was nonexistent.

With their offense sputtering and in need of establishing some semblance of balance, the Bears rushed just 17 times for 42 yards. Lead running back David Montgomery had 11 carries for 25 yards.

The frustration from coach Matt Nagy was clear as he spoke of the running game with reporters in London. It also sounded familiar. In 2018, Jordan Howard rushed for more than 100 yards just twice and averaged 3.7 yards per carry. Chicago's hopes for the rookie Montgomery haven't come to fruition.

Related: Haugh: Bears fall flat in London

Montgomery has 69 carries for only 225 yards (3.3 yards per carry) in five games. The Bears also haven't established Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis as complements to Montgomery.

It hasn't just been on the running backs. Plenty of blame falls on the offensive line, which returned five starters but has taken a major step back. The Bears' struggles to establish a downfield passing attack have also led to crowded boxes and fewer rushing lanes.

A bye week now awaits Nagy and the Bears, who will need to go back to the drawing board to re-evaluate the stagnant running game. 

Game-altering sequence 

For a time, it seemed the defining moment for the Bears would be veteran defensive back Sherrick McManis channeling his inner Charles Tillman with a "Peanut Punch" just before the goal line with just under 14 minutes remaining. His big play forced Raiders receiver Trevor Davis to fumble, and the Bears recovered at their own 1-yard line to maintain a 21-17 lead.

But there came a bigger sequence later, and it went the Raiders' way. Bears linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis was flagged for running into the punter on a fourth-and-6 for the Raiders with about six minutes left, which moved them up five yards. Oakland then ran a fake punt to move the chains on its way to a 13-play, 97-yard drive that ended with Josh Jacobs' go-ahead two-yard touchdown run.

Pierre-Louis was recognized by the Bears last week for his unsung contributions in the victory over the Vikings. On Sunday, he played an unfortunate role in a loss.

Blame game

Daniel will take the brunt of criticism for the interception he threw with 1:22 left, but the play appeared to break down because receiver Anthony Miller didn't continue his route deeper into the Raiders' secondary.

While Miller must run his routes better -- especially in those late-game situations -- it's also on the 11-year veteran Daniel to check the ball down or throw it away.

Extra points 

-- A long-term injury to Akiem Hicks would be costly for the Bears' defensive line. Hicks appeared to suffer a significant injury to his right elbow just eight plays into the game. He was missed as Jacobs rushed for 125 yards.

-- Allen Robinson continued what has been a stellar season, hauling in seven receptions for 97 yards and two scores. 

-- The return of inside linebacker Roquan Smith was welcomed for the Bears. He posted nine tackles alongside Danny Trevathan, who had a team-high 11 tackles.

-- The Bears failed to sack Derek Carr. It marked the first time the Bears failed to record a sack since losing 31-28 to the Dolphins last Oct. 14.

-- It will be a long flight home for the Bears from London.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.