LONDON – The Raiders and Chicago put on a show Sunday in London’s Tottenham Stadium. Too bad fans in Oakland didn’t get to see it in person.
This “home” game was given away to play abroad, as the Raiders have done five times in the past six seasons, taking a prime matchup away from Oakland’s final home slate. It certainly had a road feel, dominated by Bears fans cheering wildly for their team.
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The entire game was high drama, with big plays on offense, defense and special teams.
The Raiders completely controlled the first half. Chicago dominated the second.
Until the Silver and Black answered back. The Raiders went 97 yards to take a late lead that was secured by a Gareon Conley interception.
The Raiders move to an impressive 3-2 record after beating the Bears 24-21 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Here are three takeaways from Sunday’s game:
Raiders weather second-half storm
The Raiders blew a 17-point halftime lead. True story.
They completely fell apart in the second half, with one blunder after another that let a Bears team lead by backup quarterback Chase Daniel back into the game. They blew a handoff exchange. They had a ball punched out inches from the goal line. They gave up a huge punt return. They had an interception taken off the board by a bogus roughing the passer call.
They weathered all that stuff, and found themselves two yards from pay dirt with two minutes. Josh Jacobs went up and over, Marcus Allen style. Touchdown Raiders.
The Bears were pushing to get into field-goal range but cornerback Gareon Conley's interception secured a hard-fought, well-earned victory where the Raiders showed great heart and resolve.
Gruden develops great game script
Raiders head coach/offensive play caller Jon Gruden is an excellent game planner. There’s no doubt about that. He always has been good at that, helping the Raiders get off to strong starts in several games this season.
Sunday’s game plan was undoubtedly his best game script yet. He developed a solid blocking scheme that proved effective against Khalil Mack and coordinated a balanced offensive attack with intermediate throws and consistent running to stay on schedule. The Silver and Black scored 17 unanswered points to start the game, and probably could’ve had more.
Jumping out to that size lead set a proper tone, scoring on two long drives and capitalizing on a Nicholas Morrow interception deep in Bears territory.
They just couldn’t sustain such play. The Raiders made some execution mistakes in the second half that let the Bears back in the game, but and completely lost momentum. That happened most notably against Kansas City, armed with an innovative play caller in Andy Reid.
Bears head coach Matt Nagy, a Reid disciple, made some adjustments and capitalized on some miscues to take a critical second-half lead.
Raiders work hard to contain Khalil Mack
The Raiders came up with a solid game plan for Khalil Mack. They gave tackle Kolton Miller help with chips from tight ends and running backs. They had Miller cut block Mack on several occasions, and at times the tackles, Trent Brown especially, took on Mack one-on-one.
Mack still made some plays, as he is known to do. He had three tackles and a fumble recovery he didn’t force.
He came hot around the corner toward quarterback Derek Carr, but the QB got the ball out just in time for an incomplete pass.
Mack admitted this was an emotional game for him, especially playing against one of his best friends in Carr. He kept it business like on the field, though he probably was disappointed to not have made a greater impact in a loss to his old team.