Pass Offense: Derek Carr had a rather average outing, going 20-33 for 196 yards, 2 TDs and an interception. Amari Cooper was held to four catches for 49 yards, but his touchdown catch in the back of the end zone was a thing of beauty and field awareness (as well as a fantastic throw by Carr. Michael Crabtree continues to be the free-agent steal of the year, notching five catches for 80 yards. The tight ends continue to be an afterthought, as Lee Smith and Mychal Rivera combined for four catches for 26 yards. Spreading the ball around to the backs (Murray, Helu, and Reece) helped but not enough.
Rush Offense: It’s strange how, in such a close game, Oakland only had 22 total carries by running backs. The talk had been of how the Raiders had always won when Latavius Murray had at least 15 catches, but that was clearly too small of a sample size, as his 16 carries for just 49 yards did very little to keep Oakland in contention. It didn’t help that Murray clearly had an off day, between turning the ball over and getting stuffed on a critical 3rd-and-2 near the end of the game. A final time of possession of just 26:38 may have been the deciding factor.
Pass Defense: It’s hard to argue with three sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception, yet the results don’t lie. Cutler went 28-43-281-2-1, not exactly superstar numbers but not bad for someone who played hurt. Tight ends continue to burn this unit at will; Bears TE Martellus Bennett tuned them up all day, with 11 catches for 83 yards, including a TD catch where he was embarrassingly wide open, and a crucial 4th-and-5 catch right before the two-minute warning to keep Chicago’s final drive alive. That last play is ultimately what made the difference between a win and a loss, there’s no way to sugarcoat it. This is exactly why the offense needs to not settle for field goals.
Rush Defense: They actually did a respectable job here, as Matt Forte had 25 carries for 91 yards (3.64 ypc) and no touchdowns. Jeremy Langford and Jacquizz Rodgers added just three carries for seven yards total. Aldon Smith in particular had a solid game, making critical tackles and stops.
Special Teams: Sebastian Janikowski made both of his field goals and both of his extra points. Marquette King finished with a 45.0 average on his five punts, including two beauties that forced Chicago to start drives within their own 10-yard line. The decision to use valuable players such as TJ Carrie and Amari Cooper as punt returners finally bit the team in the rear, as Carrie was injured on one of his two returns and left the game. As Carrie seems to be the most consistent playmaker among the Raiders’ cornerbacks, it likely made Cutler’s job that much easier.
Coaching: Head coach Jack Del Rio and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave found out the hard way about playing not to lose, as the Raiders’ final offensive drive, which ended conservatively in a go-ahead field goal, left the Bears way too much time to respond with their own game-winning field goal. It makes sense that with a young, rebuilding team, the coaches would want to stay conservative and try to hold leads to the end. But as the secondary is the team’s biggest vulnerability, that has to be factored into fourth-quarter offensive strategy. It didn’t even necessarily need to be a touchdown drive, just one more first down would have made a huge difference, and two more first downs would have sealed the game. And they need to figure out another solution to the return game, as they cannot afford to lose players like Carrie or Cooper. But as always, all is forgiven if they can pull it together and knock off Denver this Sunday, before heading into the bye week.