Bears’ win over Raiders was even better on tape

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This tape was fun to study.

The offensive and defensive lines were worthy of the ball. Running backs Damien Williams and Khalil Herbert were a source of inspiration. And the defense was flying, recalling 2018 for the first time this year with Tashaun Gipson and Danny Trevathan back on the pitch – despite the defense being without Akiem Hicks.

It’s relevant that the Raiders were awful, committing 10 penalties for 82 yards that drastically affected the game as well as many dropped passes, but it’s also relevant that the Bears’ physique clearly caused some of those issues.

STRATEGIST

Justin Fields showed remarkable tenacity and leadership in his third NFL start, which is sure to impress his teammates, and that’s huge.

He also made a few special games again and showed a marked improvement in converting third downs. It continues to grow and generate enthusiasm.

But at some point, the numbers must start to count. Of the 31 other NFL teams, only the Jets racked up less than the Bears’ 252 offensive yards last weekend.

The other four QB rookies last weekend all produced twice as much offense or more than Fields. While winning heals everything, Fields’ stat line wouldn’t fly for any other QB. Category B-

BACK TO THE RACE

Williams has proven himself to be what you hope he will be: a solid No.1 who can complement your upper rear or ramp up and start. The Bears might have something special about Herbert as No.3. Look at their pass protection and you’ll see why we won’t even hang a minus on this one. Note: A

RECEIVERS and TIGHT ENDS

Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney do plays when they get the chance, but no one else does it consistently. Blocking is excellent on tight ends and wide, and Jesper Horsted made one of the biggest plays of the game. But whether it’s game selection, rookie QB, just not enough talent here etc., these guys have to find a way to do more. Category B-

OFFENSIVE LINE

In fact, they got better every time I watched the tape. James Daniels has been outstanding all day, not just in his viral safety video. Although Jason Peters has been beaten several times yet, he is improving every week. Perhaps most impressive, Alex Bars, as the sixth guy, isn’t just a gimmick or an extra beef; he was a gun in Vegas. Rating: B +

BEFORE SEVEN

Khalil Mack was in vintage form and Robert Quinn continues to perform at a remarkably high standard. Trevis Gipson is also blinking regularly now.

Eddie Goldman might not shake the stat sheet often, but his presence and work inside helped the Bears get through the loss of Hicks.

Roquan Smith, Alec Ogletree and Danny Trevathan were impressive. Mario Edwards Jr.’s mental failings were the only negative. Note: A-

SECONDARY

Jaylon Johnson lost track of Henry Ruggs once but other than that he was once again exceptional. Kindle Vildor and Duke Shelley made weekly strides, leading to their best performances of the season against the Raiders.

Every week Eddie Jackson looks a bit more like the guy we fell in love with in 2018. Tashaun Gipson is everywhere, and Deon Bush and DeAndre Houston-Carson have both contributed impact pieces. Note: A-

SPECIAL TEAMS

Cairo Santos is the gold standard at this point. Patrick O’Donnell is approaching Pro Bowl level for the first time in his career, and Jakeem Grant is exciting, but he’s better off catching punters in the end zone. Solid all around. Category B

FRAMING

I begged Matt Nagy to be a head coach rather than an offensive guru, and the Raiders game was a sign of what that can look like. Sean Desai, Bill Lazor and all the staff had their best games of the season because Nagy put them in a position to do so. They will have to incur the eight penalties for 70 yards out of their troops. Rating: B +


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