Top 5 takeaways from Raiders' Week 4 loss to Bears
Raiders let one slip away
If the season’s first quarter is any indication, the Raiders will be involved in several close games. The last three games have been decided on the last drive, with high drama throughout the fourth quarter. The Silver and Black are 2-1 in those contests, with Sunday’s 22-20 loss to the host Chicago Bears as the setback. These Raiders are oh, so far from perfect, but they sure are entertaining. They can score, they can get after quarterbacks and they can frustrate die hard fans by abandoning those traits at inopportune times...
5) Murray stands tall despite mistakes
Running back Latavius Murray has proved to be a stand-up guy in victory and defeat, unafraid to answer tough questions and admit mistakes after committing two key turnovers on Sunday. He had a pass clank off his chest and get intercepted, and he fumbled a pitch in the second quarter that ended his day early. He said those turnovers hurt the team. He’s right, but they weren’t the sole reason the Raiders lost. He didn’t duck the press after a rough game, willing to take responsibility for good moments and bad. You want that from young core players.
4) Raiders lost ball control
The Raiders defense couldn’t get off the field on Sunday afternoon, and had possession seven minutes less than their counterparts. The disparity was massive early on, with Chicago having the ball 20 minutes to the Raiders’ 10 in the first half. Chicago converted third downs at a 60-percent clip throughout the game, 20 percent higher than the Raiders defense normally allows. That extended drives, including the game winner late in the fourth quarter.
3) Offense can’t take chunks
The Raiders offense runs best when it can make big plays, whether it’s long passes downfield or big runs from speedy rusher Latavius Murray. Those opportunities weren’t open on Sunday, especially after the Bears bottled Amari Cooper up in the second half with double, bracket coverage. They had only two plays over 20 yards, averaged 4.3 yards per play and a woeful 4.9 yards per pass. They grinded out production, which is why they settled for field goals too often when touchdowns were needed.
2) Secondary scary thin
The Raiders secondary was thin at season’s start, before getting hit with an injury plague. They lost Nate Allen for at least eight weeks in the season opener, and TJ Carrie’s left arm/shoulder was in a sling after Sunday’s loss to Chicago. There were times that developmental prospect Keenan Lambert was playing next to Charles Woodson, who is playing with a bum shoulder, by the way. Carrie’s move to safety was an attempt to ease Allen’s loss. If he’s gone for a length of time, the cover men could be in real trouble.
1) Tougher sledding ahead
We’re through the season’s first four games, and the Raiders are 2-2. They could’ve and probably should’ve been 3-1 after playing the Bears, but they lost a close one late. It should go down as a missed opportunity to get fat against lackluster competition. The team’s first four opponents are 7-9, and that includes Cincinnati at 4-0. The last three opponents are 3-9 thus far. Starting with Sunday’s game against Denver, the Raiders won’t play a team under .500 until Week 11 against Detroit. The Raiders must elevate their game to stay competitive against these tough teams.