Already without injured starting left tackle Jermon Bushrod (concussion), the Bears offensive line was dealt another major blow on the third play of Sunday's game against the Raiders.
Veteran center Will Montgomery sustained a broken fibula, forcing the Bears to move Matt Slauson from left guard to center and install Patrick Omameh at left guard.
"That's not what you want to see," Slauson said. "I definitely don't want to see it. Will is my guy; he's a great, great player for us. He's what sets the whole offense."
As soon as Montgomery was injured, Slauson knew he was going to replace him. The seven-year veteran told reporters that he takes only 2-4 reps in practice a week at center and hasn't played the position since he was with the New York Jets.
"Definitely not as comfortable with it, but the guys battled," Slauson said after the Bears beat the Raiders 22-20 on Robbie Gould's 49-yard field goal with :02 left in the game.
"The defense gave us chance after chance after chance. Having two very important pieces to our line out, it was tough sledding. But Matt [Forte] battled. He made us right a lot. Jay [Cutler] I thought played amazing; hung in there with me through some uncomfortable times and of course Robbie's clutch. It was a great team win."
A botched snap between Slauson and Cutler resulted in a turnover, but other than that the veteran lineman performed well at center.
"To have Matt Slauson calling out the 'Mike' points was kind of strange at first, but he's really a bright guy," said right tackle Kyle Long. "If Will Montgomery can't go, then he's the guy who should be in there. I think he did a great job of orchestrating the offense."
Quick healer: Cutler showed his toughness Sunday, returning to action after missing only one game with a hamstring injury. The Bears quarterback said he felt he could move fine within the pocket but was restricted from scrambling outside the pocket.
"I felt pretty good," Cutler said. "If I had to break contain or move a little bit more it might have been a little dicey. But in that five-yard little box, I felt pretty good."
Cutler passed for 281 yards with two touchdowns, one interception and an 89.4 passer rating. He made amends for a costly pick by engineering a game-winning two-minute drill.
"Most quarterbacks that play the game have interceptions," said coach John Fox. "I think it's the body of work around it. You try to avoid that stuff. We had zero interceptions the week before [in a 26-0 loss in Seattle], and it didn't go so well. My hat's off to him. The mental and physical toughness it took for him to be out there and then to perform like he did was pretty amazing."
Successful debut: One day after signing with the Bears, Spencer Lanning averaged 45.3 yards on three punts with a long of 51 yards. He also served as Gould's holder on field goals and extra points. Lanning was signed when it became clear that regular punter Pat O'Donnell could not play due to a knee injury he sustained in last weekend's loss to the Seahawks.
"I think it speaks to Jeff Rodgers and Derius Swinton—the coaches that brought guys in and had to maneuver through whether Pat O'Donnell would be ready for the game or not as well as get Spencer ready in a couple roles," Fox said.
This and that: Safety Antrel Rolle exited with an ankle injury early in the second half and did not return. He was replaced by Jonathan Anderson. … In addition to Bushrod and O'Donnell, receiver Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) and defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff (ankle) sat out Sunday's game with injuries. … The Bears held the Raiders scoreless in the first quarter, the first time they didn't allow points in a quarter this season. … Jarvis Jenkins and Eddie Goldman recorded sacks for the Bears. Jenkins leads the defense with three, one more than he recorded in 44 games the past three seasons with the Redskins. … Members of the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, including Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, were honored before Sunday's game.