London fog: Bears look lost in first half, lose 24-21 to Raiders
Cornerback Gareon Conley intercepted quarterback Chase Daniel at the Raiders’ 23-yard line with 1:22 left, sealing the victory after the Bears rallied from a 17-0 halftime deficit.
LONDON — An hour after calling for a backbreaking fake punt, Raiders coach Jon Gruden stood in front of his players in the locker room and said, ‘‘I don’t have a disco, but let’s all start dancing.’’
Hear that, Club Dub?
‘‘You can beat anybody, anywhere,’’ Gruden told the Raiders. ‘‘In any [bleeping] time zone.’’
The Bears couldn’t. After a 24-21 loss that started with the worst first half of coach Matt Nagy’s tenure, Nagy refused to blame the Bears’ London fog on the time zone — or on the fact they didn’t land in the United Kingdom until Friday morning.
‘‘It had nothing to do when we came here and when we didn’t,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘It was about playing football.’’
The Bears didn’t in the first 30 minutes, trailing 17-0 at halftime before a furious second-half rally fell short — thanks in part to the Raiders’ fake punt — and sent them into the bye week a disappointing 3-2.
‘‘The expectations have been raised,’’ inside linebacker Danny Trevathan said. ‘‘It’s not a good feeling to be 3-2, especially in a game when you feel like you’re supposed to win, you got close enough to win.’’
The Raiders scored 17 points in the second quarter on 12-yard touchdown run by Josh Jacobs, a three-yard scoring run by DeAndre Washington set up by an interception by quarterback Chase Daniel and a 41-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson.
The Raiders outgained the Bears 208 yards to 44 in the first half. They had 14 first downs to the Bears’ two.
‘‘They came out and punched us in the mouth,’’ cornerback Prince Amukamara said. ‘‘And we didn’t seem like we had an answer to their offense.’’
Amukamara said he understood why some would wonder why the Bears showed up flat.
‘‘I’m sure all you guys didn’t think we were the same defense you saw back in the States,’’ he said.
Jacobs, whom the Raiders drafted with a first-round pick the Bears sent them in the trade for outside linebacker Khalil Mack, ran for 123 yards on 26 carries. Before Sunday, the Bears had allowed one rusher to top 100 yards in the last 38 regular-season games that didn’t reach overtime.
The Bears’ offense looked like the same one that got on the intercontinental flight — inconsistent in the air and irrelevant on the ground — despite a series of plays in the second half that put the team ahead.
And then there was the fake punt, the most remarkable play in a game full of them.
With the Bears ahead 21-17 with six minutes left, linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis dived in an effort to block punter A.J. Cole’s kick and was flagged for running into him.
‘‘In my humble opinion, I thought I got pushed into the guy,’’ Pierre-Louis said, describing a scenario that wouldn’t have drawn a flag. ‘‘But at the end of the day, I’ve got to be smarter.’’
The Raiders accepted the penalty and lined up to punt again, this time on fourth-and-one from their 27. Upback Erik Harris took the snap, though, and plunged forward for four yards. He fumbled, but the ruling was overturned when his elbow was ruled down.
‘‘We knew that [the fake] could certainly come,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘You’ve got to stop it.’’
Seven plays and 69 yards later, the Raiders scoring the go-ahead touchdown on Jacobs’ two-yard leap over the goal line with 1:57 left.
Starting in place of injured Mitch Trubisky, Daniel went 22-for-30 for 231 yards and two touchdowns. The second of his two interceptions — a miscommunication on a deep ball to receiver Anthony Miller that landed in cornerback Gareon Conley’s arms at the Raiders’ 23 with 1:14 left — sealed the Bears’ fate.
The Bears needed a miracle to get back into the game at all. On the Raiders’ second play of the second half, quarterback Derek Carr pitched the ball to Jacobs, who wasn’t looking. Mack recovered it at the Raiders’ 14. Two plays later, David Montgomery plunged one yard for a touchdown.
Allen Robinson caught four- and 16-yard touchdown passes on the Bears’ next two possessions in the third quarter. The latter was spurred by Tarik Cohen’s 71-yard punt return up the left sideline.
The Bears hung on to the lead in the fourth quarter when cornerback Sherrick McManis used the ‘‘Peanut Punch’’ to force a fumble by Trevor Davis at the goal line. When an interception by Daniel was negated by a roughing-the-passer flag, it seemed the Bears were destined to come back.
Then came the fake punt.
‘‘Gut-wrenching,’’ Cohen said. ‘‘We feel like we lost this game. We don’t feel like they won this game; we feel like we lost it.’’