LAS VEGAS – The Bears’ locker room celebration Sunday might’ve been one of their loudest. Tight end Jesper Horsted joked that he could hear the music bumping “through like five walls.”
For the Bears, Sunday’s 20-9 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders was a big one. They are 3-2 and feel good heading into some big matchups with the Packers and Buccaneers.
There has been an obvious shift over the past two weeks in this Bears offense. With offensive coordinator Bill Lazor calling plays, the offense has taken a run-first approach and returned to an old fashioned recipe. That means it’s relying heavily upon the defense.
The Bears defense delivered Sunday.
It held the Raiders to 5-for-14 on third downs and 1-for-3 on fourth downs. It limited Las Vegas to 71 rushing yards and sacked quarterback Derek Carr three times.
“Not many people had us doing what we did,” inside linebacker Roquan Smith said. “A little adversity throughout the game, but I feel like we did what we had to do to get the W.”
Facing the Raiders in their home stadium for the first time since his 2018 trade, outside linebacker Khalil Mack had eight tackles and a sack. Mack was close on another sack, which was credited to safety Tashaun Gipson.
Mack had made it clear earlier in the week that this game did mean something to him. Players don’t forget when teams trade them or cut them. Mack is no exception.
Safety Eddie Jackson certainly didn’t forget when Raiders coach Jon Gruden mocked the Bears’ “Club Dub” postgame celebrations two years ago when the Raiders beat the Bears in London. The Bears were sure to celebrate Sunday with the volume turned extra high.
“Every game you want to win, every one,” Jackson said. “But this was special, especially two years ago. It was a lot of things said from Gruden, so it was just fuel to the fire.”
The Bears had to sit with that bad taste in their mouths for an entire flight home from London. They didn’t want a repeat of that.
“This was going to be a fight,” head coach Matt Nagy said. “[Mack] knew that. And so Khalil’s in a leadership role to make sure other guys see how he plays in this moment.”
Jackson said the Bears defense feeds off Mack. When he has a good game, the Bears have a good game. So far this season, with five sacks to his name, Mack has had a lot of good games.
“He made them regret everything,” Jackson said. “Made them regret not wanting to keep him. You know, Mack’s our leader.”
Mack was not available for comment after the game.