Bears' inability to force turnovers costly
Despite an otherwise solid performance, the Bears' defense fell short Sunday of its stated goal of forcing 2 turnovers every week.
The Bears allowed the Raiders 341 total yards and just 72 rushing yards in the 25-20 loss to Oakland. They permitted just 3 of 15 third-down conversions and got 4 sacks, as many as they had in the previous four games combined.
But the defense came away with just 1 turnover, Corey Graham's third interception in as many games. The Raiders took the ball away three times, all on interceptions.
"I thought we did good," said cornerback Charles Tillman. "(But) one of the things we fell short of was turnovers. Any time you lose the turnover ratio, the chances are you're going to lose. It's a proven stat."
It absolutely is for Lovie Smith's Bears. Since Smith came to town, the Bears are 4-9 when they fail to get a turnover, 9-25 when they get just 1, 25-11 when they force 2 turnovers and 32-8 when they get 3 or more.
"The way we've won games this year has been taking care of the football and winning the turnover ratio," Smith said. "That really hurt us (Sunday)."
The Bears forced 15 turnovers during the five-game win streak that ended Sunday.
Robbie Gould booted field goals of 50 and 53 yards against the Raiders, the first time in his seven-year career he's had 2 of 50 or longer in the same game.
In his first four seasons, Gould didn't have any field goals longer than 49 yards, and he only attempted 2. But his kicks have been getting longer and stronger. In 2009 he hit 2 of 3 from 50 or longer, and last year he was 3-for-4 from long range. This year he's 5-for-5 from 50 or farther.
"Everyone said I couldn't make 50-yard field goals in the beginning of my career," Gould said. "Well, I never really got a lot of attempts. That just wasn't our style of football that we play around here, (but) I think by making a few later down the road, I might have gained a little more confidence from coach (Lovie) Smith and (special teams coordinator) Dave Toub. Obviously this year has been a special year for me."
It's a snap:
New long-snapper Chris Massey handled four placements and five punts without incident Sunday in his first game with the Bears.
The 10-year veteran wasn't signed until last Thursday after the Bears decided not to go with untested rookie Jake Laptad.
"Unfortunately we didn't get the whole week to prepare, but Chris came in and has done a great job for us," kicker Robbie Gould said. "I feel bad for Jake; he kind of got thrown in the fire. He'd be the type of guy who'd be great to have in camp, and hopefully we bring him back because he was great at the end (of the preseason), and he could definitely have a career in long-snapping. I just think he needs to have some time around (injured long-snapper) Pat Mannelly."