5 takeaways following Bears’ impressive road win over Raiders

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It took until Week 5, but the Chicago Bears are finally over .500 and have their first road victory after defeating the Las Vegas Raiders 20-9. Though the arena was technically on the road in Las Vegas, the crowd felt right at home as thousands of Bears fans made their presence known from the the start.

The game itself was a slugfest with both teams trading hard hits and punishing defense, but it was the Bears who took the 14-3 lead going into halftime, thanks to a power running game and clutch passes from quarterback Justin Fields.

In the second half, the defense finished the job as Raiders quarterback Derek Carr struggled with the pass rush and couldn’t find a rhythm with his receivers. Despite a late score, the Bears held on comfortably for the win thanks to all three phases doing their jobs when it mattered most.

As always, there’s a good amount to digest from this game. Here are my takeaways from Sunday’s hard-fought victory.

Justin Fields is on his way

Chris Unger/Getty Images

We all knew Fields had confidence, toughness, big-game ability, pretty much every phrase used to describe the rookie quarterback going back to his college days. But after a few weeks of starting, we’re seeing it come to life in more ways than one.

Fields was ambushed by the Raiders pass rush as soon as the offense took the field. He took hit after hit, grimacing in pain at times and even needing to miss a few plays. But through it all, Fields bounced back, faced the pressure head on, and began dealing blows in the passing game.

He didn’t have the most impressive day on the stat sheet, completing 12-for-20 passes for 111 yards and one score, but Fields is showing he can gut victories out and make the clutch play when it’s needed most. Whether it was the touchdown strike to Jesper Horsted or the third-and-long conversion to Darnell Mooney, he’s doing everything he needs to in order to win.

We haven’t seen the four-touchdown performance yet, but it’s coming. Fields is well on his way to becoming the true franchise quarterback this organization has lacked for years. Just take it step by step.

Sean Desai is quickly building a defensive juggernaut

Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Raise your hand if you thought the Bears defense would be where it is now following their loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1. This quick turnaround is stunning and defensive coordinator Sean Desai deserves so much praise for getting this unit on track. They keep stacking impressive performances and allowed the fewest points of the season this week on the road.

Desai has been showing exotic looks to offenses, throwing them off their game. He’s moving players all over the field to disguise coverages and it seems to be working extremely well. Carr even admitted the Bears were able to dissect their plays as they lined up, reading the offense like a book.

Whether it’s sacking the quarterback, stuffing the run game, or creating turnovers, this defense is showing out right now. Even the secondary, easily the most scrutinized position on defense, is getting some praise as players like Duke Shelley and Kindle Vildor are steadily improving in their respective matchups. The group is going to hit some bumps in the near future, but you have to feel good about Desai’s plan. Just in time for Halloween, this defense is getting scarier by the week.

The running game will be just fine without Montgomery

AP Photo/David Becker

Through four weeks of the season, David Montgomery was easily the offensive MVP, totaling a pair of 100-yard performances and putting the team on his back. The offense ran through him and losing him to a knee injury felt like a total loss. But this running game keeps chugging along and they’re going to be fine for the foreseeable future.

Montgomery is still an excellent back and this isn’t a vote against him, but rather a vote for Damien Williams and Khalil Herbert. The two backs combined for 34 carries for 139 yards a touchdown, each averaging more than 4.0 yards per carry. They were finding wide holes to run through and kept the chains moving all day long. With both backs seeing significant time, this running game is in good hands until Montgomery returns. Perhaps that will be the creation for a three-headed monster later in the year too.

This game meant so much to Khalil Mack

AP Photo/David Becker

When you think of Khalil Mack, you probably picture a big, brooding superstar who likes to let his play do the talking. But what you saw on Sunday was a much-more animated player, jawing with Carr and his former teammates, while also looking like he had an extra pep in his step. We all knew this game would be different for Mack, playing his former team for the second time since being traded, but this time, he had a lot more fun.

Aside from the sack (and the two-point conversion sack that should have counted) Mack still had a banner day. He had eight total tackles, his most in nearly two full years, and was firing off the edge like a bat out of hell consistently. When he did reach Carr, he was uncharacteristically talking trash and making sure the quarterback knew who was coming for him.

Mack’s a quiet leader who likes to let his play do the talking. It was refreshing to see him so fired up for this reunion.

The Bears are finally building an identity on offense

AP Photo/Rick Scuter

For the first few games of the season, it felt as if the Bears were patching up gameplans and hoping they were going to work against their opponents. They would rely on short passes from Andy Dalton, strong runs from Montgomery, and gadget plays for Fields when he would (rarely) enter the game. There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for them, but now that Fields has firmly taken over, things appear to be changing.

The Bears have an identity now and it’s one that can work fairly well. They will run the ball until they’re blue in the face while throwing around 20 times per game. Fields isn’t necessarily being asked to be a game manager, but rather throw against a defense this is prepared for the run. But this is just the beginning as Fields will continue to develop, allowing the offense to open up more while still focusing on the run game.

We’re eventually going to get to the point where Fields can easily throw for 3-plus touchdowns consistently. I truly believe that, but for now, this offense has a solid identity that can win games while still developing a rookie quarterback.

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