October 4, 2015
Bears 22, Raiders 20 – A Smelly Life Preserver
Robbie Gould’s 49-yard kick was good, the fans went wild, and the Chicago Bears topped the Oakland Raiders 22-20 at Soldier Field on Sunday, a victory that might not save Chicago’s season but at least temporarily kept it from getting downright silly.
Speaking of silly, Gould’s strong kick through Chicago’s obdurate winds provided the winning margin for the Bears but the silliness actually was not over and the game wasn’t over either. On the ensuing kickoff the Raiders played a serious game of hot potato and it worked as Oakland’s series of laterals and scrambles helped them matriculate the ball well into Bears’ territory before one last lateral finally went awry and the Bears smothered it, time had expired, and thank God it was over.
Those crazy laterals on desperate kickoff returns are some of the funnest things you ever see on a football field and why don’t we see them more often? Even if the Raiders hadn’t eventually coughed up the ball on that final mad dash they wouldn’t have scored as they were eventually – perhaps inevitably – flagged for an illegal forward pass which nearly always happens on such returns.
Here’s an idea: Why not allow teams to have one forward pass per game on a kickoff return? Because you can’t do that, that’s now how football is played, you stupid-face. But, again, why not? Why not make it a little more exciting, a little more fun, a little more rugby-like (I know, rugby does not allow forward passes but you know what we’re trying to convey here) with more constant flow and action, angles and adventure? Why not?
Back to the concrete world, though, and we accept that the Bears probably won this game because the Raiders, previously known as the “resurgent Raiders,” are likely more ordinary than exciting. Oakland actually has, statistically, just about the worst defense in the league and the Bears still only managed 22 points.
But that’s 22 more than Chicago scored last week and quarterback Jay Cutler’s return was a big reason. Number-6 made a lot of crisp passes; completing 28 of 43 for 281 yards and two scores, but also tossed up a few regrettable ones, including a late interception that almost cost Grandma her bingo money.
The Bears also won the time of possession, ran more plays, had more yards rushing and did not lose the turnover battle. Funny how all those things can lead to a long kick hanging in the wind and falling in your favor.
The Bears are now 1-3 and head to Kansas City to play the Chiefs who are also 1-3 and have dropped three straight. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! The Bears will soon be 2-3, and then at the .500 mark by Halloween. Look out, kids. Momma’s got her Midway Mojo and Daddy’s not wakin’ up soon. –TK