Jay Cutler returned a few weeks ahead of schedule today as the Chicago Bears beat the Oakland Raiders this afternoon at Soldier Field in Chicago. Cutler was supposed to be gone anywhere from 2-6 weeks depending on who you talked to with his injury but returned today and looked good and his hamstring injury did not appear to be an issue. John Fox made many dumb moves today coaching the Bears but his decision to run up the middle with Matt Forte at the end of the game to the 32 yard line of Oakland turned out to be genius because it left the Raiders with no time left. The Bears were going to win or lose the game on the right leg of Robbie Gould who before the end of the game had already made field goals of 19 and 54 yards. Fox trotted out Gould with :06 left in the game and the veteran came through with a 49 yard field goal with :02 to go in the fourth quarter.
The Raiders were dominated in this game but were in position to run out of Chicago with a victory despite being dominated by yardage and time of position. Chicago had 371 yards compared to 243 yards for Oakland and Chicago held the ball for 33:12. Oakland was in the game because of the dumb penalties and turnovers by the Bears offense. Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett fumbled and Jay Cutler threw what looked a backbreaking interception in the red zone to Bears nemesis Charles Woodson late in the 4th quarter. It was Woodson’s 6th career interception in 8 career games at Soldier Field.
Cutler would get the ball back after Sebastian Janikowski made a 41 yard field goal to give the Raiders the lead 20-19 with 2:05 to go in the fourth quarter. Cutler then led the Bears down the field with passes to Forte, Bennett and a couple of key throws to Marquess Wilson who redeemed himself many times over from a bone headed drop earlier with several clutch catches in the last 2 minutes on the sideline. The Bears were able to complete passes down to the Oakland 34 yard line, Fox decided to run it to Forte for 2 yards up the middle and Robbie Gould took care of the rest to care of Oakland’s plans for a road victory.
Cutler looked good in his return and showed how much better the Bears are with him rather than Jimmy Clausen at the helm. Cutler was 28 of 43 for 281 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception despite the Bears best receiver Alshon Jeffrey again inactive because of a leg injury. With Cutler at the helm the Bears had 23 first downs and also converted 10 of 17 third down conversions, keeping the Oakland offense off the field for large portions of the game.
Oakland on offense and Derek Carr were not that good today only really scoring after Bears turnovers and favorable field position. Carr passed for only 196 yards with 2 touchdowns but threw an interception to Pernell McPhee for Chicago that temporarily gave the Bears the lead in a game that included 6 lead changes. The Bears defense looked good for second consecutive week, sacking Carr twice and holding Oakland to 243 total yards. Oakland converted only 6 third down conversions.
Up next for the Bears are the 1-3 Kansas City Chiefs as the Bears travel to Arrowhead Stadium next Sunday for a noon central time kickoff.
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