"We made some mistakes like usual, but we covered them up and played hard," said Brian Urlacher.
The sure foot of Paul Edinger guided a game-winning field goal from 48-yards out as time expired to give the Bears their first win in the new Soldier Field. It's the fourth game-winning kick of Edinger's career.
"That guy's unbelievable," Coach Dick Jauron said of Edinger.
After making comments about how fickle fans can be following the loss to Green Bay, R.W. McQuarters turned boos to cheers by the time the Bears pulled out a 24-21 win over the Raiders. The cornerback picked off a Rich Gannon pass, which set a score that gave Chicago their first lead. The double-threat also returned a punt 54-yards that led to a field goal.
"That's what we talked about, basically give them (the fans) something to cheer about," McQuarters said. "We got booed at halftime. We were like, ‘hey we've got another half to play let's go out and let's be physical, keep playing and give them something to cheer about.'"
McQuarters interception gave the Bears the ball in Raider territory. Consecutive runs of 16 and 20 yards by Kordell Stewart and Anthony Thomas put the ball inside the Oakland ten-yard line. The Bears took the lead two plays later on an eight-yard touchdown run by FB Stanley Pritchett. A Stewart scramble on a two-point conversion put Chicago up 21-18 midway through the fourth quarter.
Not everything went the Bears way. A lucky bounce on a 49-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski tied the game with less than four minutes remaining. The attempt hit the left upright and just cleared the crossbar on the ricochet.
With a running game that that totaled 200 yards, the Bears offense leaned on Stewart during the final drive. The quarterback completed three of five passes for 38 yards on the possession including a 29-yard completion to Dez White that put the Bears in position to send Edinger out for a field goal.
"It's a double move outside and Kordell had the patience to wait for it and come up, he threw a perfect ball," Jauron said. "What a competitor, what an unbelievable competitor."
The Bears fell behind on the opening possession and trailed 18-3 at the half. The Bears trimmed the deficit to 18-6 with an Edinger field goal in the third quarter, but 18 fourth quarter points capped the comeback.
"It's a much better feeling," Jauron said of the win. "I'm so happy for those guys in that lockerroom. They fought so hard and nothing has really gone our way. We dug ourselves a big whole and dug ourselves out in the second half."
The Bears defense reverted back to their bend don't break form. The Raiders scored on their opening possession of the game, but on their next three trips to the red zone came away with just three field goals. Turnovers put the defense in a tough spot, but the unit continually made Oakland settle for three points instead of seven. Overall Janikowski connected on five field goals on six attempts.
"What we try to do whenever there is a turnover or something happens we say, ‘hey keep them out of the end zone and make them kick field goals," McQuarters said.
Although Janikowski seemed like he couldn't miss a field goal, he did push a PAT wide right that came into play later in the game. Janikowski, who had made 12 straight field goals to start the season, also had a field goal blocked by Phillip Daniels.
"He's an exceptionally strong kicker and a very good one," Jauron said of Janikowski. "His get off time is extremely quick, maybe the quickest in the league, so we did not feel like we had any chance to block a kick off the edge. So our whole focus was on middle push and guys did a good job with it and got a hand up."
Anthony Thomas went over the century mark in consecutive games, which is the second time in his career that he's accomplished the feat. Thomas had five double-digit runs including three on the team's opening possession. He also had an 18-yard gain negated by a holding penalty.
"(Offensive coordinator John) Shoop told me early that he was going to feed me the ball and we tried to take advantage of it," Thomas said.
Despite his early success Thomas got just two carries in the second quarter before the team came out lockerroom with a purpose to reestablish the running game.
"That's something that you really can't worry about right now," Thomas said. "We've got to win. We haven't won a lot of games. So that's the main thing right now, we just want to take this and just move on. Just to try to push off of this and try to build on something."
Marty Booker more than doubled his receiving yards on the season with a 94-yard effort against the Raiders. The receiver had a 14-yard touchdown catch to go along with gains of 48 and 28 yards. Coming into the contest Booker had just 11 receptions for 92 yards with a long of 18.
Of Jauron's 29 victories as head coach of the Bears, 18 of them have been come from behind.
"Don't ever give up just keep fighting together as a group because there's lots of doubters and they're everywhere," Jauron said. "You've just got to stay together and play through it."
Injury Report: Bears DT Keith Traylor had an arthroscopic procedure on his right knee late Friday afternoon. He will be re-evaluated in three to four weeks.
Linebacker Warrick Holdman left the game in the second quarter with a sprained left ankle. Wide receiver Marty Booker left the game in the fourth quarter with a bruised left side. Both injuries will be re-evaluated Monday.