LONDON — The difference between 4-1 and 3-2 will feel massive for the Bears after a gutting 24-21 loss to the Oakland Raiders Sunday in front of a a swell of Chicago fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Bears made a ton of plays to erase a 17-0 halftime deficit by the end of the third quarter. This was a game that felt destined for a Bears’ win after Allen Robinson’s 16-yard touchdown snag gave the Bears the lead — and, even more so, after Sherrick McManis executed a perfect “Peanut Punch” on the goal line, with Prince Amukamara recovering that fumble. The Bears were making plays in the second half; the Raiders weren’t.

But those spectacular plays papered over what was an uncharacteristically sub-par game for the Bears’ defense. The tackling was bad. There were some coverage issues. Rookie running back Josh Jacobs rushed for over 100 yards, something this defense wasn’t supposed to let happen in 60 minutes.

On special teams, while Tarik Cohen had a brilliant 71-yard punt return, but Kevin Pierre Louis’ running in the kicker penalty allowed the Raiders to run a fake punt on fourth-and-one that they converted, sparking their go-ahead touchdown drive.

And while the Bears’ offense was significantly better in the second half, Chase Daniel wasn’t able to pick up for the defense. His wild miscommunication with Anthony Miller led to what was all but the game-losing interception. No matter whose fault it was, it meant the Bears didn’t have a shot to at least send Sunday’s game into overtime.

The Bears had losses like this in 2018, yes (the Dolphins and Giants games come to mind). That team proved to be resilient, even after falling to 3-3.

But the 3-2 Bears do not have games against the New York Jets or Buffalo Bills looming. After the off week: the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Chargers come to Chicago. Then the Bears go back on the road to face the Philadelphia Eagles. That three-game stretch just might define the 2019 season.

And going into it with a 4-1 record would’ve given the Bears much more of a cushion — or much more of a springboard — for the rest of the season. The Bears’ Week 1 loss to the Green Bay Packers was frustrating. This one might sting for a while.

 
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.