The Oakland Raiders snapped their 2-game losing streak at the Black Hole by defeating the Chicago Bears 25-20.
Raiders’ kicker, Sebastian Janikowski, kicked a team-record six field goals (40, 47, 42, 19, 37, 44), to provide much of the scoring for Oakland. The Raiders other special teamer, punter Shane Lechler, had a great game as well, neutralizing the most dangerous punt returner in the league, Devin Hester for most of the ball game.
With victory, the Raiders have won three straight games for the first time since 2002. They also, are able to remain atop of the AFC West division (with a record of 7-4), as the Broncos (6-5) look to be on their heels.
Through three quarters of play, Janikowski provided the offense for Oakland, who had a hard time getting into the endzone against a stout Bears defense.
That all changed midway through the 4th quarter, when Raiders’ quarterback Carson Palmer led Oakland on an 8-play, 74-yard drive, capped off by a rushing touchdown from running back Michael Bush. Even though Palmer did not have a throwing touchdown, he finished the game with another 300-yard performance. Bush was held to 69 yards rushing, but had 93 total yards from scrimmage.
Raiders’ defensive coordinator, Chuck Bresnahan and the Raiders defense were able to keep somewhat of a muzzle on the Bears offense for at least three quarters, only giving up seven points. Taking advantage of the Bears playing without their starting quarterback, Jay Cutler, the Raiders were able to fluster his replacement, Caleb Hanie for most of the game, forcing him to throw three interceptions. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that Hanie and the Bears offense finally woke up, but by then it was a little to late.
Although the defense gave up over a 100-yards rushing as a total, they were able to hold the running back tandem of Matt Forte (59 rushing yards) and Marion Barber (63 rushing yards) in check individually, for a majority of the ball game.
Obviously the Raiders have to work on finishing off drives and ball games, as the back stretch of the season is almost near. But its just like head coach Hue Jackson said in his press conference, when he reflected on a conversation that he, and the Raiders’ late owner, Al Davis had. The message of the dialogue acknowledged the fact that all wins won’t be pretty, but that it’s important to get the right kind of effort out of your ball club, so that any game is possible to win.
The Raiders are learning how to win, and with that comes a form of trial and error. They fly to the east coast next week to take on the Miami Dolphins. Let’s see whether or not Oakland will make the same error two years in a row, by losing to a team they are far superior than. With payback on their mind, I know Raider Nation just hopes that the “Silver and Black” will take care of business and “Just Win Baby Win!”
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Written by Arthur Kai