Janikowski kicks 6 FGs as Raiders beat Bears 25-20
Sebastian Janikowski and Shane Lechler are the only remaining
ties to the Oakland Raiders’ last playoff run.
They used their big legs to send the Raiders into December alone
in first place for the first time since those three division titles
Janikowski kicked a team-record six field goals, Lechler had an
80-yard punt and neutralized ace returner Devin Hester, and the
Raiders took advantage of three interceptions of Chicago’s Caleb
Hanie to beat the Bears 25-20 Sunday.
”We just want to see this thing come full circle, have this
organization be back on top,” Lechler said.
Janikowski made field goals of 40, 47, 42, 19, 37 and 44 yards
to break the team record he shared with Jeff Jaeger.
Lechler controlled field position all game with a 49.2-yard net
average, pinning Hester and the Bears inside the 20 on three of
five punts and booming the team-record 80-yarder over his head with
a boot that generated ”oohs” and ”aahs” from the crowd and his
”Our two kickers are fantastic,” coach Hue Jackson said.
”There’s not another punter or kicker in the National Football
League I would ever want to have on the football team. I said to
the team when this was over, those were the two men who were here
the last time this team was 7-4. Those guys have a lot to do with
it. They did a tremendous job.”
Carson Palmer threw for 301 yards and Michael Bush iced the game
with a touchdown run in the fourth quarter to lead the Raiders to
their third straight win against a Bears team missing starting
quarterback Jay Cutler.
Hanie struggled in his first career start for the Bears (7-4) in
place of Cutler, who broke his right thumb last week in Chicago’s
fifth straight win to put a major obstacle into what had been a
Hanie, who nearly led a comeback in last season’s NFC title
game, had thrown only 14 regular-season passes since signing as an
undrafted free agent in 2008 and looked like a career backup for
much of this game.
Hanie completed 18 of 35 passes for 254 yards and three
interceptions, including a crushing one late in the first half when
the Bears were deep in Oakland territory and on the verge of taking
”I was a little antsy early on,” Hanie said. ”A little bit
too amped, I feel like. Just kind of felt a little pressure and
sailed it on him.”
But Hanie also threw two TD passes, including a 5-yarder to
Kellen Davis with 2:11 to play that cut the deficit to 25-20. That
was set up by an 81-yarder to Johnny Knox.
The game ended when Hanie botched a spike play with 4 seconds
left at his 46. Instead of immediately spiking the ball to stop the
clock, he took an extra step back and hesitated, leading to a
game-ending intentional grounding call.
”We should have won that football game based on the way our
offense played,” linebacker Brian Urlacher said. ”We didn’t play
well enough on defense. We gave up too many big plays, didn’t get
enough takeaways. That’s why we didn’t win.”
Bush was held to 69 yards on the ground by Chicago’s strong
defense and Palmer was sacked four times and threw an interception
as the Raiders missed injured big-play threats Darren McFadden,
Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore.
But they made up for it on special teams, headed by Janikowski
and Lechler. The Raiders did not shy away from the dangerous
Hester, holding him to 7 yards on two punt returns. He didn’t get a
chance on the 80-yarder as Lechler sailed it over his head once he
saw the returner creeping up too far.
”Those guys are game-changers,” Palmer said. ”There’s not
many punter-kicker combinations in the league … there can’t be a
Hanie’s three first-half interceptions put the Bears in a 12-7
hole despite his 29-yard TD pass to Knox. The Bears had a chance to
take the lead when they drove to the 7 late in the first half.
Hanie attempted a throwback screen to Davis that was tipped by
Aaron Curry and went right to Kamerion Wimbley, who returned it 83
yards before being dragged down by a horse-collar tackle by Lance
Louis. Oakland settled for a 19-yard field goal.
”We knew coming into this game that he lacked experience, but
we knew that he could still make plays, as you saw in the Green Bay
title game last year,” Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt said.
”We knew he still had the ability to make us look bad and come out
of here with the W if we didn’t take care of business.”
Notes: Bush’s TD gave Oakland’s its first points in the fourth
quarter since Oct. 9 at Houston. … Knox had 278 total yards with
145 coming on his four catches and 133 on four kick returns.