Quick Game Comments: Bears at Raiders 10-10-21

In the sixth century, Pope Gregory the Great devised the list that we now know as the “Seven Deadly Sins”: pride, envy, anger, sloth, greed, gluttony, and lust. But the 13th century, St. Thomas Aquinas added what is, in my mind, the most important observation about the list: that before a person could lust like a rabbit or go green with envy, he first had to commit the sin of pride. This made pride not only the deadliest of sins, but “the beginning of all sin.”

When it comes to football, there flat out is not deadlier sin than pride. Players and coaches have to ruthlessly suppress their egos to come together to be the best team that they can be. And that goes doubly for head coaches.

Giving up play calling might be the hardest thing that Matt Nagy has ever done in his life. I’d say the odds are extremely good that its the hardest thing he’s ever had to do in football. Play calling was part of his identity. It was “his thing”, something he took great pride in. He’s had difficulty even talking about it.

But two weeks ago, Nagy realized that for the good of the team, he had to give up play calling. The Cleveland Browns destroyed the Bears offensive line, which gave up 9 sacks and Nagy realized that he had quite simply failed to adjust his game plan to accommodate the fact that the line needed help.

Its hard to do, calling plays on the side line where the head coach has to reside. Its chaos, really, with the action constantly swirling around you. Its hard to stay cool and concentrate, especially when all of the other responsibilities that come with being a head coach are weighing on you. So Nagy handed over play calling to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor in the booth for the Lions game last week. The results have been positive.

“That’s the one thing I like,” quarterback Justin Fields said. “Coach [Nagy], it’s hard for him to be calm if he has to focus on the defense, focus on special teams. [Lazor’s] voice is calm. He’s up there in the box seeing the field well and he did a great job calling plays today.”

Nagy suppressed his pride for the good of the team and, I firmly believe, for his own good as well. He now can concentrate more fully on his head coaching duties. And free of having to constantly think about the next play call, he can take a broader view of the offense and see more clearly what has to be adjusted in game to make it more successful.

Pride truly is the greatest of all sins and it has no place in a team game. To Nagy’s credit, he knows it and lives it and avoidance of it has benefited all.


  • The Bears came out running the same offense that they ran against the Lions. A lot of help for the offensive line in the form of tight ends and running backs blocking and a heavy reliance on the ground game (37 carried for 143 yards). The Bears ran 57 offensive plays in the game, and Fields was under center for 31 with 26 snaps coming in shotgun formation. It looked like roughly the same proportion this week. There was a sense that the Bears would have to do more against a much better Raiders defense than they did against the Lions. But the plan worked well enough with a good defensive effort to hold the score down and the Bears prevailed.
  • Unfortunately the Bears did not use the middle of the field again this game intil the fourth quarter. NOt coincidentally, those throws were among the most successful of the game at a time when the Bears offense had really stalled out. Going into the game they were 29th in the NFL in passes between the hashes with 8 (they were 29th in 2020). They need to do more over the middle if they expect to have success against good teams in the future.
  • Though the loss of David Montgomery’s power and contact balance stings, happily running backs Damien Williams (64 yards on 16 carries) and Khalil Herbert (75 yards on 18 carries) did a good job of taking up the slack this game.
  • The tight ends got slightly more involved today. Jasper Horstead caught a touchdown pass and Cole Kmet had two receptions. Of the two “speed receivers” that the Bears were going to use to such good effect this year, Marquis Goodwin had one catch and Damiere Byrd didn’t make the stat sheet. Jimmy graham didn’t make the stat sheet either. So I’d say that the offseason plans that the Bears made aren’t coming to fruition.
  • I’d say that Justin Fields is making some progress. Fields expressed a desire to not repeat mistakes during the week. “You just have to learn from those mistakes and try not to make those mistakes twice,” Fields said. “Every snap I get I’m going to see what I could have done better and try not to make those mistakes twice.” He was partially successful. If he was holding the ball too long again this week, it wasn’t evident as he escaped the pocket and got on the move fairly regularly. But he’s still missing blitzing defensive backs as the Raiders occasionally brought late blitzers to take advantage, especially early in the game.
  • The Bears still aren’t moving Fields around a lot, though there were a few roll outs that weren’t present last week. In fact, the touchdown pass to Horstead was on a rollout. One thing to note, Field nearly always rolls to his right. I’m sure defenses will pick up on that if he doesn’t vary it.
  • There were also a few designed runs for Fields that I’m sure made the whole city of Chicago a little nervous. Fields took a lot more hits this game than anyone would like. Here’s hoping this colms down or he wont’ stay healthy.

  • Kudos to the offensive line for playing better on the road this week than it did against Los Angeles and Cleveland? The Bears ran for 3.9 ypc and Justin Fields was sacked twice, both times by Yannick Ngakoue. They got a lot of help. But they also got a lot of good push at the line of scimmage. It was a good day.


  • The Bears defense did a good job of stopping a good Raiders offense today. Coming into the game tThe Raiders ranked fifth with 406.5 yards per game, including 326 passing yards per game, second only to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They didn’t play particularly well. There was some sloppy execution, a lot of penalties and some bad dropped passes. But give the Bears defense credit. They played well.
  • A good part of the reason that the defense played well was because of the pressure that the defense put on Derek Carr. The Bears had 3 sacks, one each by Khalil Mack, Tashaun Gipson and Trevis Gipson.
  • The Raiders offensive line has been in flux. It was completely rebuilt in the offseason and is missing veteran guard Richie Incognito. First-round pick Alex Leatherwood had been practicing at right guard after playing right tackle the first four weeks. He missed a block on a stunt that resulted in a Khalil Mack sack.

    The game plan that the Raiders laid looked an awful lot like the Bears to compensate. Although the plan wasn’t quite so conservative nor quite so protective of the line, there was generally no shortage of tight ends and running backs to help them.

  • Although he didn’t have a sack, Robert Quinn had another good game, getting a lot of penetration into the Raiders defensive back field.
  • The Bears once again had a couple instances of broken coverage when it looked like communication was an issue. Darren Waller was left uncovered in the first half and Bryan Edwards dropped a long pass when he was completley uncovered later in the game. This needs to be fixed.
  • Tight end Darren Waller, possibly the Raiders best receiver, was held to 4 catches for 45 yards, and did not play up to his usual standard.
  • No Akiem Hicks, no problem. Well, maybe that’s going to far but the Bears held the Raiders to 3.2 yards per rush with a rotation involving a lot of defensive tackles. Its probably the deepest unit on the team.


  • I’d say that Jakeem Grant showed his usual dynamism in the return game although it didn’t result in anything spectacular. He definitely moves better than anyone else the Bears have had doing the job this year. One thing to note about Grant. He had a great deal of trouble hanging on to the ball when he was with the Dolphins, which is probably the reason he is no longer there. He’ll get you points in the return game. But he’ll cost you points too. The over all result can be frustrating.
  • Cairo Santos was 2 for 2 very valuable field goals that help secure the win in the fourth quarter. He has not missed a field goal in a game in more than a year for a streak of 34 made field goals now.

  • drops
  • I was sorry to see Germaine Ifedi injured but I have to say here that the guy is a penalty machine. He jumped again for a false start on the second play of the game.
  • The Bears were clean in the turnover department, which was a major reason for the victory. But there were 8 penalties for 70 yards, which is really too many. Fortunately teh Raiders were worse with 10 penalties for a damaging 82 yards.
  • Bears fans didn’t out number the Raiders fans but they were definitely heard as the crowd was basically dead for most of the game. Nice job.

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