The Bears welcome the Oakland Raiders and their supremely refined fans to the second game in the new Soldier Field.
It's a beautiful day in Chicago as the Bears look for their first win against the defending AFC champs.
If any of your valuables were missing this morning, blame the members of the Raiders nation who made the long trek for this one. Or blame Robert Fick, an honorary member of the Raiders' defensive backfield from the '70s.
If you can't get this game on TV in your part of the country or you're just bored, hopefully this play by play of this little time killer between Games 4 and 5 of the National League Division Series will be of some use.
On a football note, Keith Traylor is out today with a knee injury and Alfonso Boone will start in his place. For Oakland, Rick Mirer is listed as a gameday inactive, which pretty much sums up his Bears career.
Football soon please stay tuned.
Tails never fails. The Raiders win the toss and take the ball. Huggy Bear's kid Justin Fargas takes the kick out to the 30.
Oakland starts on the ground with a toss to Charlie Garner for 3 yards. Rich Gannon then hits Ronald Curry over the middle, bringing up third-and-1. Zach Crockett dives into the pile and gets a favorable spot from the refs. First down. Gannon finds Jerry Rice for a gain of 18. Rookie cornerback Charles Tillman is making his first NFL start and gets the pleasure of lining up opposite Mr. Rice all day. God speed, Peanut. The Raiders follow with another first down inside the Bears' 20. Tyrone Wheatley runs up the middle down to the 10. Boone stuffs Crockett to bring up another third down. But Gannon scrambles down to the goal line. The PA guy just announced "First and 10 from the 1." Uh... After a partial goal-line stand Crockett eventually punches it in. Polish party boy Sebastian Janikowski shanks the extra point.
Raiders 6, Bears 0
Jerry Azumah lost his starting corner job to Tillman this week, but gets a look as a kick returner. He returns the kick out of the end zone to the 30.
The Bears run Thomas four straight times down to the Raiders' 22. Great running with three straight first downs. Though, a holding penalty backs them up a bit, giving them second-and-20 at the Raiders 31. Stewart drops back to throw for the first time and gets dropped by Tyler Brayton for a loss of 4, ending that once-promising drive. Fourth down. Punter Brad Maynard is called for false start. I've never seen that before. Kick bounces into the end zone.
This stadium does look pretty cool in the bright sunshine.
The Raiders pick up a quick first down and then Wheatley is stuffed after a 1-yard gain. Gannon throws incomplete and it's third and 8. Gannon throws behind Rice and the Raiders will punt. R.W. McQuarters is back to receive he gets a few boos for ripping the fans last week. R-Dub returns the kick 54 yards down the Oakland 27. So much for the boos.
Thomas runs for a few and then Stewart takes off on a designed run for 9 yards and a first down. Thomas is stuffed and then has a screen pass go off his finger tips. Marty Booker then drops another screen. Questionable call there on third down. Edinger comes on to boot a 35-yard field goal.
Raiders 6, Bears 3
Wheatley is flagged for a block in the back on the kickoff, backing the Raiders up their own 9.
Gannon hits tight end Teyo Johnson, one of the nicer guys around. Garner then busts one for 33 yards down to the Bears' 22. Gannon tries to zip it to Rice, but Rice falls down and the ball goes right through Tillman's hands. To make matters worse, Tillman is flagged for interference. A 7-yard penalty. It all evens out. The Raiders then get busted for holding. Second and 17 on the 19 quickly turns into third and 17 and then fourth after Urlacher chases down Gannon, forcing him to throw it away. Jainkowski's field goal makes the score...
Raiders 9, Bears 3
The Bears start at the 24 and quickly turn it over. Stewart hit Desmond Clark over the middle and linebacker Eric Barton stripped it and Charles Woodson recovered. First and 10 Raiders at the 24. The Bears challenge. Clark's knee might have been down before the ball squirted out. Ruling on the field stands. Raiders ball.
Two Garner runs get 3 yards. The Bears show safety blitz on third and 7 and Gannon's pass goes right through the hands of Alvis Whitted. Janikowski kicks yet another field goal.
Raiders 12, Bears 3
Stewart throws incomplete and then Rabih Abdullah picks up a couple. Stewart is sacked by former Bear Trace Armstrong. Maynard to punt again.
Oakland starts with good field position at its own 39. Gannon then finds Doug Jolley for 14 yards. Garner follows his blockers for a couple and then appeals for a face-mask penalty. No call. Rice got behind Mike Brown but Gannon's pass is too long. Third and 8. Urlacher got a lick on the quarterback there. Garner hurdles Tillman, cuts the corner and picks up 17 down to the Bears' 15. Urlacher wrestles Jolley down and then Tillman cuts down Wheatley from a seated position. Warrick Holdman is down and he's grabbing his left knee. He's up and limping off the field. From the replay it looks like he banged the knee on Wheatley's helmet. It doesn't appear that he twisted it. Either way, Holdman's a guy the Bears can't lose. Two-minute warning. Bears go with their nickel package and Gannon's pass goes in and out of the hands of Curry. Janikowski trots on and his 33-yarder is good.
Raiders 15, Bears 3
We've got ourselves a field-goal fest. Feel the excitement!
OK, here's the two-minute drill, people. Always an adventure with the Bears. Stewart dinks one to Dez White who is brought down in bounds after a gain of a couple. A quick strike to White gets 10 and then Stewart scrambles for 6. The Bears call time. Holdman has a sprained ankle and has gone to the locker room. Second and 4 from the 42, Stewart hits Booker in stride and Booker is gone for 48 yards. White made a great block down field to spring Booker. From the 10 with :36 seconds left, the Bears are flagged for holding and the entire stadium groans. Clark was the guilty one. First and goal from the 20. Stewart is forced to scramble and is dragged down. Flags fly. Two penalties on the Bears there. The Raiders take the holding call on Villarrial. First and goal from the 30, Stewart tries to force it to Booker and Woodson steps in front and returns it 51 yards before Stewart drags him down from behind at the Bears' 24. Brutal.
Gannon takes a shot at Rice in the end zone but it's over-thrown. Janikowski kicks his fourth field goal, all of them under 40.
Raiders 18, Bears 3
That's the half and major booing breaks out as the Bears leave the field.
What happened to Thomas? He runs six times on the first series and then gets one carry the rest of the half?
Azumah returns the second-half kickoff 41 yards to the 44-yard line.
OK, here's Thomas. He runs twice for nine yards and then dives into the pile for a first. Thomas runs again, but the Bears are called for holding again, this time on Aaron Gibson. Stewart is flushed out of the pocket and dragged down after a gain of 5. Second and 15 from the 50. Stewart's arm is hit as he throws, the ball flies straight up in the air and Woodson picks it off. Thomas and Olin Kreutz were both nailed for personal fouls after the interception. The Raiders take over at the Bears' 31.
The Raiders can't move the ball, either and send Janikowski out there. Phillip Daniels gets a hand on the kick.
Thomas runs twice and then Stewart hits Clark for a gain of 11. Clark then jumps before the snap and moves the Bears back 5 yards. They can't do anything positive without getting penalized or making a bone-headed mistake on the next play. First and 15. Thomas cuts the left corner and picks up 11 then Stewart collides with tight end Dustin Lyman, who had lined up at fullback, and they get nothing. See what I mean? Stewart has his pass batted at the line and the Bears are officially stalled at midfield. Maynard's punt lands in the end zone.
There's a break for the Bears: Gannon's pass is tipped at the line by Boone and grabbed by Alex Brown. Bears ball at the 18. Unreal. Steve Edwards is whistled for a false start and that backs them up to the 23. Thomas gets nothing off tackle and then Stewart's pass is tipped again. Kreutz catches it and the Bears have third-and-24 from the 32. Stewart is nearly flipped as he tries to get it to Booker. No dice. Edinger will try from 50 and squeaks it over the cross bar.
Raiders 18, Bears 6
The Bears' two scoring drives have been 10 plays for -5 yards. That's minus 5 yards.
Garner runs for nothing, Gannon over-throws Curry and then Urlacher sheds Garner in the backfield and sacks Gannon. Following an Oakland punt, the Bears take over.
Stewart is hit as he throws. He may wind up hospitalized today if this keeps up. Thomas then runs around the left corner and picks up a first. A counter to Pritchett picks up 9. The Bears should just run it on every play. Very bad things happen every time Stewart drops back to pass. Stewart runs for the first. Keep it on the ground, Shoop. Stewart lofts one up for grabs on the near sideline and Booker out-leaps Terrance Shaw and comes down with it at the 17. That was all Booker. A shorty to Booker picks up four and the quarter ends.
On a third and 7 from the 14, Stewart hits a diving Mary Booker for a touchdown. Booker hands the ball to a little kid in the crowd. A ball game, folks.
Raiders 18, Bears 13
Azumah is trying to fire up the crowd and they're into it.
Gannon hits Tim Brown on a crossing pattern and Browns drifts out of bounds just across midfield. Bryan Robinson blocks Gannon's pass as the Bears defense digs in for potential big stop. Michael Haynes over-persues Gannon but Alex Brown is there to deliver a hit as Gannon throws incomplete. The punt goes through the end zone and, of course there's a flag. But it's on Oakland and it will back the Raiders will kick again. Shane Lechler shanks the punt and there's another flag on the Raiders. Punt it again. After all those shenanigans Lechler nearly places a perfect punt on the 1, but it bounces into the end zone for a touchback.
The big video screen just showed a bunch of people in the crowd dancing to House fo Pain's "Jump Around." Then they flash to Stewart and he's dancing, too. A hold on the Bears back them up to the 10. Stewart scrambles and gets some of those yards back. Thomas barrels up the middle for 9, bringing up third and 3 at their own 27. Stewart under-throws Terrell and that's that. Punt time.
Fifty-two yard boot with no return.
Booker has a bruised left side and has gone to the locker room. Not good.
Rice makes a great grab on the sideline keeping his feet inbounds for a 21-yard gain. Brown snares one over the middle for another 20 down tothe Bears' 34. Gannon's pass goes through Jolley's hands and McQuarters picks it off at the 12 and returns it 43 yards to the Oakland 45.
Stewart makes guys miss on a 16-yard scramble. Thomas gets a block and near hold by Mike Gandy and darts 20 yards around the corner down to the 9. Thomas now has 115 yards rushing on 19 carries. Can't get enough of the site of Bears fans in hunting camo jumping around to 50 Cent. Thomas jumps through a hole on the right side of the line and into the end zone. The Bears take the lead with just under 7 minutes to play. The Bears go for two. Stewart fakes to Thomas and then rolls left for the PAT.
Bears 21, Raiders 18
"Bear Down, Chicago Bears" rings out and melts into "We Will Rock You." Bears fans finally have something to cheer about.
Jolley picks up 11 and a quick strike to Rice picks up 12 to the Bears' 39. Garner gets nothing and Lance Briggs runs Jolley out of bounds after a few. Janikowsi comes on to try a 49-yarder to tie it. It doinks off the left upright and goes through. Tie game.
Bears 21, Raiders 21
"Tequilla" rings out, perhaps, an homage to Janikowski.
Azumah returns the kick to the 27 with just over 3 minutes in the game.
Thomas runs for a few and then Stewart picks up about 6 on a keeper to take us to the two-minute warning. Stewart hits Mike Ditka for the first. Wait, make that Dustin Lyman.Thomas runs for a few, Stewart throws it away and then on third down a dump to White is close the marker. They're measuring at midfield with :45 on the clock. The Bears call their second timeout. Two chain links short. Fourth down and not a lot. Stwewart hops over the pile for the first and then spikes the ball to stop the clock with 21 seconds remaining. Stewart takes off with much field in front of him and runs out at the 32. But Gandy is called for holding, which moves the ball back to the Bears' 45. Take a knee and go into OT? Guess not, Stewart throws a perfect ball to White down to the Oakland 31 with 9 seconds left. Thomas runs up the middle to get a few more and is stuffed. Timeout. This will be a 48-yarder to win it by Edinger. Oakland takes a timeout, if only to annoy everyone involved. It's good and Edinger is mobbed at midfield.
The Bears win a game. Is there anything else to say?
Final: Bears 24, Raiders 21