There was a definite British feel to this 24-21 loss to Oakland by the Bears in London.
It looked like a Monty Python skit from one of their hilarious movies, "The Meaning of Life. "
It was the masters against the students in rugby, a bunch of 10-year-olds playing a full-contact rugby match against their teachers. The grown men beat up on the little kids and ground them into the mud while the adults on the sidelines cheered and even tripped the kids when they ran past.
The Bears, in this one, were the students, definitely not the masters. Their running attack was feeble and the Raiders' running game ground the Bears into the mud.
Here are their grades from this fiasco.
Bears' running game vs. Raiders' run defense
With 42 yard rushing the Bears continued to stir memories of the good old days, last year when they had a back gaining about 80 yards a game down the stretch named Jordan Howard. The running game is trying to move laterally and spinning its wheels. David Montgomery did a better job waiting in this game for blocks to develop before spinning out, and they simply did not form. They might need some drastic action on that line. Grade: F.
Bears' passing game vs. Raiders' pass defense
The offensive line gave up four sacks to a team that had only one more than that for the entire season. Charles Leno's pass blocking was worse even than his run blocking and he came out with a couple more holding penalties and a sack allowed. Chase Daniel played a respectable game except for his two interception. Both were not only ill advised, they just were not the kind of mistakes a veteran should make -- even a backup. Allen Robinson's spectacular play along the sidelines conntinued, with a 97-yard game and two touchdowns. He is a master at getting his feet down. His footwork is so good he'd dominate Dancing With the Stars. Grade: C-
Bears' run defense vs. Raiders' running game
This looked like a Mel Tucker defense, not the one Vic Fangio formed and Chuck Pagano took over. Eddie Goldman seemed more than able to handle the interior against Minnesota without Akiem Hicks. When Hicks went out Sunday with an elbow injury, it seemed like someone blew a hole in the middle of the Bears' defensive front. The double team on Goldman drove him off the ball, and the cutback lanes were there for Josh Jacobs to pile up 123 yards. If not for the occasional holding or other penalty, the Raiders might have piled up 30 points or more. Grade: F
Bears' pass defense vs. Raiders' passing game
The Raiders rendered Khalil Mack a non-factor and were able to find their tight ends and backs wide or while Derek Carr was on the move. Sherrick McManis' forced fumble at the goal line was worthy of that "Sweeping the Shed" award the Bears give out. He looked like Peanut Tillman knocking it out. But the Bears were a step slow to defend on the 97-yard decisive drive. Grade: D +
The blocking on kicks left much to be desired, and it seemed Cordarrelle Patterson's returns came only on his own initiative by breaking away from the planned return and using his speed. Tarik Cohen finally got the chance to flash that speed on a 71-yard punt return, leading to a touchdown. Two blockers were on the verge of getting called for a block in the back on it but wisely pulled off of it. Pat O'Donnell with one nice punt inside the 5 and Patterson turned his speed on as a gunner to down it. Eddy Pineiro's kicks were truly an example of gutting it out. He was limping after getting knocked down on one. Kevin Pierre-Louis' silly mistake for running into the kicker might not have been his fault entirely. On replays he appeared to have been blocked into the punter. The Bears still had forced another punt and they should have been more aware of the possibility of a fake punt by the Raiders from deep in their own territory. They didn't have the middle of the line covered up well enough. Grade: B
Chuck Pagano has never needed an invitation to be more aggressive, but in this one he needed to be far more aggressive. They didn't send the linebackers upfield in gap run blitzes to shut down Oakland cutbacks runs enough the way they had against Minnesota. More man to man coverage and more blitzing would have worked better. On a few downs when they did go after Carr, he threw the ball away in a panic. It should have been done on the game-winning drive. It's hard to criticize Matt Nagy's play calling or even the RPO aspect that failed to lead to rushing yardage, because the Bears simply didn't block it up. Harry Hiestand needs to get all over Charles Leno's back in practices because he's looking far to lax on the field with all the penalties. Nagy wanted this type of running game and not a power back like Jordan Howard. He has it now. Enjoy. Ultimately, coming to London late in the week can be debated but I'll say it again for about the fifth time -- they should have gone earlier. Overall, the Bears didn't look ready and that's on the coaching staff. That's on Nagy. Grade: F
If they'd lost this way to a solid team, it wouldn't hurt as much. This is a wasted game with a difficult schedule ahead. They couldn't afford this loss.