Caleb Hanie’s Turnovers Prove Costly As Chicago Falls In Oakland

Caleb Hanie completed 18 of 36 pass attempts for 254 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in a 25-20 loss to Oakland on Sunday.

His completion percentage was 50%, while his QB rating was 56.9.

All three of his three interceptions came in the first half, luckily the Bears defense held the Raiders to only six points off those mistakes by Hanie.

caleb-hanieHis last interception came on a second-and-one play with under 30 seconds left in the second quarter.

The Bears were having success offensively after WR Johnny Knox returned a kickoff 56 yards, but then offensive coordinator Mike Martz called up a throwback screen to TE Kellen Davis.

Hanie didn’t execute it very well, after Raiders linebacker Aaron Curry came into break it up.

Kameron Wimbley caught the ball off the tip and was able to return it 73 yards before Bears right tackle Lance Louis ripped him down.

“I got it over the first guy (Wimbley), which is how it usually works out in practice … there’s one guy in front between you and him, you get it over him and it’s a touchdown normally,” Hanie said after the game.

Coach Martz needs to run better plays for the young quarterback Hanie. Hanie made crucial mistakes in the first half because of his lack of experience.

Martz needs to draw up plays that help him out. This isn’t Jay Cutler out there throwing passes, this is fourth-year quarterback Caleb Hanie, who before Sunday never started an NFL regular season game.

Hanie settled into the game in the second half, but the three interceptions turned out to be costly. The Bears don’t tend to win when they don’t win the turnover battle either.

I’m not blaming coach Martz entirely, but he needs to know that with an inexperienced quarterback you can only do so much.

The running game had perhaps their best game of the season with 172 net yards on the ground, so maybe more running plays could be in the playbook moving forward.

Marion Barber had 63 yards, Forte had 59 yards and Hanie had 50 yards as well.

Consider that 126 yards passing for Hanie came with 3:47 left in the game. 81 yards came on the bomb to Johnny Knox during their second half touchdown drive.

The Bears didn’t let him unleash long passes after he faltered on a pass in double coverage to Matt Forte in the first half that was intercepted.

Teams will know that Hanie likes to scramble to his right, so expect defenses to force him to his left.

Considering it was his first start on the road against a very good Oakland team, it wasn’t the worst performance.

The turnovers have to go and Lovie Smith is expecting to see a much improved Hanie next Sunday at home against the Chiefs.

Hanie definitely showed some flashes of good play in this game, but with a healthy Jay Cutler you’d think they would of won that game.

You can’t alter what the Raiders did on special teams with their kicker Sebastian Janikowski booting six field goals and their punter Shane Lechler (Seabass) averaging 54.6 yards on punts, including a 80 yard blast.

What you can alter is the turnovers by the raw quarterback Hanie. With a healthy Cutler most of those mistakes wouldn’t have been there.

The Bears can’t say what if, they need to move on and build off of Hanie’s second half performance which was pretty solid.

Did he really just do that?

Hanie needs to know when to spike it because the final play turned into intentional grounding after he took too long to spike it.

He also stepped out of bounds instead of throwing the ball away, which turned into a sack by the Raiders.

Most of those little mistakes should be fixed with time and experience.

Monsters of the Midway

The score was 12-7 at the half despite Hanie’s three interceptions.

The defense played pretty efficient not allowing a touchdown until under four minutes left in the game.

Julius Peppers posted two sacks, while Henry Melton and Amobi Okoye each brought Carson Palmer down. Nickelback Corey Graham reeled in his third interception of the season.

Safety Major Wright led all defenders with six tackles, while defensive end Chauncey Davis posted four tackles in his Bears debut.

Cornerback Tim Jennings did a solid job all day in coverage putting himself in position to reel in a couple interceptions.

Only a couple breakdowns in coverage happened on this day.

FB Marcel Reece and WR Louis Murphy both reeled in 47 yard passes. Murphy’s catch help set up the Raiders touchdown drive which ultimately put the game away.

Charles Tillman made a great play off the two minute warning on the Bears onside kick try, but the Bears just couldn’t come up with it.

The Bears defense isn’t at fault in this loss, the turnovers were simply too much to overcome.

The Raiders needed this game more than the Bears considering Tim Tebow and the Broncos have been on fire as of late in the AFC West.

What now?

The Bears still have the No. 5 spot in the wildcard because of the loss by the Lions on Thanksgiving day. Atlanta sits at (7-4), Detroit sits at (7-4) and the New York Giants (6-4) in the wildcard race.

The next three games for the Bears are against the Chiefs, Broncos and Seahawks. The Chiefs and Seahawks matchups are at Soldier Field, while the Broncos game is in Denver.

Those could all be wins for the Bears, which would put them at 10 on the season. 10 wins could get you in as a wildcard team in the NFC.

Quick Tuneup

Hanie and the offense will come out more prepared on Sunday against the Chiefs. Coach Martz needs to call up simpler plays for the inexperienced quarterback.

Look for the Bears to bounce back next week after a disappointing loss in Oakland.


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Jake Perper is the owner and head writer for He is also the Chicago Bears writer for Follow him on Twitter, @Bearsbacker and on Facebook for up to the minute news about the Bears.

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Jake Perper

Owns and writes for, THE Blog for Any Chicago Bears Fan. Also, is the Chicago Bears writer for