The Chicago Bears lost Sunday in London to the Oakland Raiders 24-21. It was an upset no one saw coming, as the Bears were heavy favorite being the more talented team. The final was troubling because head coach Matt Nagy and his team are starting to show a negative trend when playing inferior opponents on the road.
Oakland dominated Chicago in the first half as they built a 17-0 halftime lead. It was the first time all season that the Bears defense was not in control and couldn’t consistently stop the opposing offense. The Raiders rushed for nearly 100 yards in the first half and had a scoring drive of 90 yards that resulted in a touchdown. Raiders running back Josh Jacobs became the first opposing running back in nearly two seasons to rush for over 100 yards against the Bears defense.
Chicago’s offense could fare no better as starting quarterback Chase Daniel was sacked three times in the first half and also threw a terrible interception in Bears territory. The offense as a whole was inept as they had three consecutive three and outs to finish the first half.
Both the offense and defense came to life in the third quarter as the Bears scored 21 unanswered points. the offense, defense, and special teams all made big plays that gave Chicago a 21-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter. A Raiders touchdown with less than two minutes followed by Daniel’s second interception of the game sealed the game for Oakland.
Going into this game, the Bears were supposed to show up and just win, even with a backup quarterback. Sunday’s game was eerily familiar to losses last season against the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants. Heading into those games, the Bears were heavy favorites against inferior teams. In both games, Chicago’s defense couldn’t make the big stops and the offense struggled severely at times. Although leading in both games at one point, Chicago failed to take full command in either game allowing their opponents to win the games late.
In those three losses to lesser opponents on the road, the Bears defense has registered just one sack. They have also allowed each team to score 24 points or more in those losses. The offense has also failed to score first in any of the games which have led to them having to play from behind. Protecting the football has been an issue, as in each game, Chicago’s offense has had multiple turnovers.
Both those losses proved costly last season, as with just one win, the Bears would have earned the second seed in the NFC playoffs. They would have had a bye week followed by a Divisional round home game. Similar to last season’s losses, Chicago had everything line up in their favor before the game. The Raiders were without their three top wide receivers and London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was filled by a majority of Bears fans.
It is a negative trend for Nagy’s team because it shows that he is allowing his team to play down to a lower level of competition. As the head coach, it is his job to make sure that no matter who the opponent is, that his team is ready to play and dominate. For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, one loss can prove costly for when, where, and who you play come January. Great teams make Super Bowl runs, not because they beat just the good teams, but because they are able to beat the bad teams also.