This was never going to be an easy one, this trip to Oakland. Even with Cutler it was going to be a challenge. With the inexperienced Hanie running the Bears offense, it was ugly at times. Hanie gave you about what you might expect from an inexperienced QB making his first career start. We got a glimpse of Hanie in last year’s NFC Championship game. Just enough bad throws and dumb mistakes to offset the positive plays.
Hanie ended the day with 2 touchdowns on 18 for 36 passing with 3 costly interceptions, none of which was more costly than the one he threw right at the end of the first half. It was a play that proved to swing the momentum to the Raiders for good. With the first half winding down and the Bears down in the red zone trailing 9-7, they appeared set to go to the locker room with a first half lead. But Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz screwed us again, with that STUPID roll right, throw back to the left screen pass intended for Kellen Davis. The ball was tipped and Raiders defensive lineman Kamerion Wembley wound up with it and rumbled 73 yards inside the Bears’ 15 yard line.
By the way, hats off to Bears right tackle Lance Louis for his tremendous hustle to chase Wembley down and horse collar him to save a touchdown. The Bears’ safeties could learn something about pursuit angles from Louis. He took a great angle and didn’t give up on the play. It was an outstanding individual effort that I cannot applaud enough. Watch #60 hustling in this clip here.
The story of the game for the Raiders was the foot of placekicker Sebastian Janikowski who booted a career high 6 field goals. Janikowski didn’t do it alone; he had help from the Bears’ defense, which stiffened when it needed and kept Hanie and the Bears in the game. Julius Peppers and undertackles Henry Melton and Amobi Okoye contributed 4 sacks of Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer. Let’s go bullet points to sum up the rest of the game:
- Johnny Knox had a game similar to his season and career – up and down. He had a few big plays going for 4 catches for 145 yards and a touchdown. But he had a couple of drops and another slip at a critical time. Someone check his cleats please.
- Marion Barber led the Bears in rushing with 10 carries for 63 yards compared to 12 carries for 59 yards for Matt Forte. 22 carries for this duo with Cutler on the sidelines and a mostly 1-score game is inexcusable. Someone slap Mike Martz upside the head for that.
- Speaking of slapping Martz, someone please rip that throwback play out of his playbook. RIP. IT. OUT!!!
- Great job by the offensive line today. They gave Hanie enough time to throw three interceptions. Nice work.
- Did I mention Lance Louis’ effort yet?
- Shane Lechler, YOU are ridiculous. I have never seen a punt go nearly 80 yards in the air. He kept Devin Hester and the Bears punt return game largely bottled up.
- Big props to Robbie Gould, who was not only booting loooong field goals and a few key touchbacks but he also had a great onside kick effort. I thought the Bears had that one.
- I realize that the chance of completing a Hail Mary at the end of the game was slim, but what the heck was Caleb Hanie thinking with the fake spike and then when he really spiked it with a D linemen in pursuit, ended up with an intentional grounding and a runoff to end the game. Give yourself a shot there Caleb. I hate to call it a rookie mistake, but that’s what it was.
- Stop the presses – Lovie Smith won a challenge. I think that’s 2 this season.
- Corey Graham is actually doing halfway decent on defense. He’s always been a special teams standout, but he’s done a nice job filling in for DJ Moore at nickelback. He’s had picks in three straight game. Nice job.
What did I miss? What were your observations? Let’s hear ya in the Comments.