The Oakland Raiders showed why special teams are important against the Chicago Bears. They had the best kicker on the field in Sebastian Janikowski to put points on the board, and they had the best punter on the field in Shane Lechler to kick the ball away from Devin Hester.
Janikowski kicked six field goals to set a team record. Lechler finished with an average of over 54 yards a punt to keep the ball away from Chicago's dangerous return weapon. Hester was pretty much stopped in punt and kick coverage, returning two kicks for only about 20 yards each and two of the five punts for a combined seven punts.
The Raiders didn't need to have too much of a functional offense to win on Sunday. They moved the football enough to get points from Janikowski and did punch it into the end zone late, but otherwise they were fairly ineffective. Oakland only rushed for 73 yards as Michael Bush averaged less than three yards per carry. Carson Palmer did throw for over 300 yards, but completed only 57% of his passes and threw no touchdowns, one pick. Decent, but hardly good.
However, Caleb Hanie wasn't much better, throwing three picks, two that resulted in Raider field goals (which eventually ended up being the difference in the game). Chicago managed 401 yards of offense, but couldn't punch it in enough to get the win.
Oakland improves to 7-4 on the season and stays atop the AFC West.
To discuss the game with Raiders fans, go to Silver And Black Pride. To talk with Bears fans, head over to Windy City Gridiron.