LONDON – The Raiders had a three-score halftime lead and let it slip. The Chicago Bears scored three straight touchdowns in a wacky third quarter when everything that could go wrong did.
The Raiders didn’t fold. They didn’t stress. They marched 97 yards against the ferocious Bears defense and won the game on a Josh Jacobs touchdown run.
The Raiders held on to beat Chicago 24-21 and earned a massive win for the franchise.
The pressure was on in that final drive, but the Raiders never showed it.
Offensive players were confident they could work the ball downfield. There wasn’t much said in the huddle before that long drive began.
Accounts vary, but the consensus was that quarterback Derek Carr said three simple sentences to hone focus.
"This is it. This is us. Our time is now."
Josh Jacobs set the tone on that drive, with a 15-yard run off left guard on the first snap of a 13-play sequence. The Raiders stuck with the run despite the ticking clock and just one timeout.
A fake punt extended the drive – Erik Harris was ruled down upon review after fumbling – and the Raiders took off from there.
Foster Moreau made a huge 23-yard catch thanks to a great play call, and the Hunter Renfrow made a slick move to get the Raiders deep into Bears territory.
Moreau struck again with an excellent 16-yard catch down the left side – Carr threw an absolute dime there – and then Jacobs scored from two yards out by going up and over the Bears defense.
That drive didn’t come out of nowhere. The first half gave the Raiders confidence they could sustain a long drive despite doing next to nothing in the third.
“At the beginning of the game, we were really rolling,” Moreau said. “We just had to find that form again, and we certainly did on that final drive. Momentum is a big thing in football. We had it, and then we lost it in that third quarter. We got it back at the end. The line was phenomenal. Derek made some great throws. We stayed focused, did our job and scored when we had to.”
A common denominator with all of the aforementioned skill players: they’re all rookies showing cool under fire.
“I think we've been talking about our young players since they've been here, the kind of effort that they provide and the smartness that they play with,” Gruden said. “And these are smart guys that are doing a lot of different things. Playing tough positions. Foster Moreau, pass protecting, catching passes down the field. Can't say enough about the rookies.”
That late drive says a ton about this Raiders team. They’re tough and they never quit.
“It just shows you the grit and determination of our young guys,” Carr said. “I consider myself young still, the old guy at 28 on the team. We have a young, good football team.”
They also have a team gaining confidence through these wins, and learning more about itself each week. Despite all that happened in a crazy game, the Raiders hung tough and put it all together on that final drive.
“It was rough falling behind like we did, but we’re resilient,” left guard Richie Incognito said. “We kept working and kept plugging away and did just enough to get the win.”