CHICAGO — The Bears found their recipe for success Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders at Soldier Field.
Tyson Bagent was the head chef, but D’Onta Foreman and the defense did the heavy lifting in a 30-12 win at Soldier Field.
The Raiders are the poster child for NFL mediocrity. They have two dominant players, but other than Davante Adams and Maxx Crosby, the Raiders are the definition of unspectacular. The Bears kept Adams and Crosby from wrecking the game, and Bagent did all that was needed to get the Bears to 2-5.
Here’s a report card that will get the Bears the day off on Monday:
Bagent didn’t do anything extraordinary in the win over the Raiders.
The undrafted rookie went 21-for-29 for 162 yards and one touchdown. That’s ho-hum quarterback play from a statistical standpoint.
But Bagent operated the Bears’ offense efficiently. He was on time and on target with his throws. He kept the Bears ahead of the sticks, allowing them to lean on a potent ground game. Most important, Bagent didn’t turn the ball over.
Bagent’s teammates praised his pocket poise and presence in the huddle after the win.
The Bears didn’t need Bagent to be Super-Man to beat the Raiders. They just needed him to do what they asked and keep the chain moving.
He did that.
Bagent GRADE: B+
TEAM GRADE: B+
The Bears have been searching for weeks to discover the physical running attack that was their calling card in 2022.
They finally unearthed it Sunday behind 89 yards from D’Onta Foreman and 48 yards from Darrynton Evans.
The Bears’ reshuffled offensive line — which saw Teven Jenkins go back to right guard to replace the injured Nate Davis — pummeled the Raiders’ defensive line into submission and took full control of the game during an 88-yard, time-sucking touchdown drive in the third quarter.
“We just kind of kicked their ass upfront,” tight end Cole Kmet told NBC Sports Chicago.
Foreman punished Raiders defenders for 60 minutes. After sitting and watching from the sidelines for four games, Foreman told his teammates pregame that he was ready to carry the load.
The veteran running back finished the game with 120 total yards and three touchdowns.
This is what the Bears want to be on offense.
The Raiders starting Brian Hoyer, who had lost the last 12 games he started entering Sunday, might have played a role in the Bears’ defenses domination Sunday.
Scratch that. It definitely did.
But the Bears can’t control who they play, and given the defensive struggles they had to start the season, they’ll take any well-rounded performance they can find.
The Bears held the Raiders to 204 yards passing, but 75 came in garbage time.
Hoyer was off the mark all day, and the Bears’ pressure and coverage made it worse.
Star receiver Davante Adams was limited to just 57 yards on seven catches.
The Bears picked off Hoyer and rookie Aidan O’Connell three times.
If the Bears’ secondary aced the test, the run defense gets to skip a few grades.
The Bears held 2022 NFL rushing leader Josh Jacobs to 35 yards on 11 carries. The Raiders tallied just 39 yards on the ground.
The Bears’ defense has now authored two stellar performances in a row.
After holding the Vikings to just 12 points (seven came on a scoop and score) and 2-for-13 on third down, the Bears held the Raiders to 12 points and 2-for-9 on third down.
Pretty, pretty good, no matter who the opponent is.
I’m hard on head coach Matt Eberflus and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. There are no curves for the men tasked with being central cogs in this rebuild.
But credit where credit is due.
Eberflus has found a way to get the best out of a defense that has limitations. He has blitzed more and injected more wrinkles on third down that helped the Bears get off the field.
As for Getsy, he tailored the offense to Bagent’s strengths and dialed up plays to get the ball out fast into the hands of DJ Moore, Darnell Mooney, and Foreman.
No complaints here, but the road will only get tougher.