Thousands of passionate Bears fans invaded Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas Sunday, making their favorite team feel very much at home on the road.
"You see orange everywhere," coach Matt Nagy said after the Bears' 20-9 win over the Raiders. "It gives you chills when you're coming off the field because you know how much support they have for us, and they were a huge part of this win.
"We talk about how well we travel, and it's amazing all over the country when we go to certain spots. But today, I mean it was impactful. So, it's a beautiful win for everybody. They're a huge part of that, and any time you can run off the field winning like that and you have fans waiting for you, it's pretty cool."
The noise generated by the Bears fans seemed to bother the Raiders offense at times.
"Man, that was amazing," said safety Eddie Jackson. "It was crazy to really see how our fans travel and come on the road. They helped us a lot. They kept us fired up, kept us pumped. Just to hear the support out there that we have from the fans, we really appreciate it."
The toughness that rookie quarterback Justin Fields demonstrated at Ohio State was on display throughout Sunday's win. The first-round pick absorbed a couple of monster hits in the first quarter—including one that resulted in a roughing-the-passer penalty—and then was forced to exit in the second period with an apparent leg injury when he was sacked by defensive end Yannick Ngakoue.
Fields returned after missing only three plays to help the offense complete a 16-play, 86-yard drive capped by Damien Williams' 4-yard touchdown run.
"That son of a buck is tough," Nagy said of Fields. "He is tough. He's proven that when he was in college. He proved it out here."
"He's a fighter," added tight end Jesper Horsted. "You saw some of those huge hits. Ideally, you want to eliminate those. But it says a lot about your quarterback when he wants to come back and finish the game off, even though I'm sure he's battling through some stuff. He'll heal up and be ready for next week."
Fields' toughness became legendary last season at Ohio State, when he overcame a devastating hit by a Clemson defender in a College Football Playoff semifinal game and threw for 385 yards and six touchdowns in a 49-28 win.
"I'm always going to bring that to the table," Fields said after Sunday's victory. "I'm going to put myself out there to win games, so that's what they can expect from me. Every play, every game, I'm going to give it my all."
Fields' first NFL touchdown pass was a thing of beauty. Early in the second quarter, he rolled to his right and fired a 2-yard dart to Horsted, who was blanketed by cornerback Amik Robertson in the end zone.
"Another good ball from Justin," Horsted said. "It was a rollout to the right, and I'm on a corner route there. I just kind of made eye contact with him as he was scrambling and slowed it down a little bit because the defender has his back to me, and Justin just trusted me enough to put the ball up, and I made the catch."
Biding his time
Horsted played in his first regular-season game Sunday since the 2019 finale. He was active as the third tight end because Jesse James was unavailable due to a personal reason and J.P. Holtz was sidelined with a quad injury.
Horsted originally signed with the Bears in 2019 as an undrafted free agent from Princeton, where he played receiver. He appeared in six games as a rookie, catching eight passes for 87 yards and one TD. But then he spent all of last season on the practice squad and was inactive for the first four contests this year.
"You learn to become patient in this league," said Horsted, who caught three TD passes in the Bears' preseason finale against the Titans. "And three weeks or four weeks is nothing compared to, like, two seasons. I knew it would come eventually and you've just got to be ready when it comes."
Fields' most impressive throw Sunday came midway through the fourth quarter after the Raiders had scored their first touchdown of the game to cut the deficit to 14-9. With the Bears facing third-and-12 from their own 27, Las Vegas lined up six defenders across the field a few yards in front of the first-down marker.
Undeterred, Fields dropped back to pass and rifled a 13-yard completion to Darnell Mooney, who had found a small hole in the zone. The play sustained a drive that ultimately resulted in Cairo Santos' first of two 46-yard field goals.
"That was a big-time play in that game." Nagy said. "If you don't get that, now the momentum meter swings to them big-time. Justin went through his progression, the offensive line blocked, and Justin made a great throw. And Mooney made a great catch, and it was first down."
On Williams' 4-yard TD run, the veteran running back utilized a tantalizing spin move to elude Robertson and get into the end zone.
"When I saw that, I just stood there and I was like, 'Yo, that was crazy,'" Fields said. "I wish I could do that. That's all I've got to say about that. I wish I could do that. But Damien's a great player, and he's a great leader on this team."
The "Club Dub" celebration inside the Bears locker room after Sunday's win apparently was epic.
"I can hear it through like five walls," Horsted said while speaking to the media in an interview room. "Everyone's dancing. You've got guys like me who usually don't get in that circle throwing some moves. Everyone is excited because it was a great game in all phases of the game. The defense played their tails off. The offense was moving the ball and taking really long drives to eat up that clock. And special teams was lights out, too, against a really good unit."
News and notes
The Bears limited Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who had entered Week 5 leading the NFL in passing yards with 1,199, to 206 yards Sunday. Carr completed 22 of 35 passes with one interception and a 67.1 passer rating. He had thrown two TD passes in each of the first four games this season but was held without any by the Bears … When Fields exited for three plays in the second quarter, he was replaced by veteran Andy Dalton, who completed his only pass attempt for eight yards to Marquise Goodwin on third-and-7, sustaining a drive that resulted in Williams' TD run … The Bears recorded three sacks by Khalil Mack, Trevis Gipson and Tashaun Gipson Sr.. Mack now has 5.0 sacks this season, edging ahead of Robert Quinn (4.5) for the team lead … Jakeem Grant Sr. made his Bears debut, averaging 19.0 yards on two punt returns with a long of 21 yards and 23.0 on three kickoff returns with a long of 32 yards … Linebacker Danny Trevathan made his season debut after missing the first four games with a knee injury, coming in off the bench and compiling three tackles.
Check out the 40 best photos—taken by Bears photographers—from Sunday's Week 5 win over the Raiders in Las Vegas.