Richie Incognito revealed the Oakland Raiders took Khalil Mack's pre-game comments "personally" before they beat the Chicago Bears in London on Sunday.

Star pass rusher Mack faced the Raiders for the first time since he was moved to the Bears, whose much-vaunted defense had led the league in sacks and takeaways since acquiring the 28-year-old in the blockbuster trade last year.

Mack had said he "liked" the term "vindictiveness" ahead of the reunion, but he was largely anonymous as the Raiders' offensive line did not give up a sack in a 24-21 success.

With all the talk on Mack and the Bears' defense prior to the game, guard Incognito admitted Oakland were keen to change the narrative.

"Of course we take that personally," he told Omnisport.

"He's over there talking about how he's looking forward to playing us and all this stuff.

"There's history. We came out and were physical with him. They didn't like it."

The Raiders stormed into a 17-0 lead and although Chicago fought back and led in the fourth quarter, rookie running back Josh Jacobs scored a touchdown to cap a 13-play, 92-yard drive with under two minutes remaining to give Oakland an advantage they would not relinquish.

Ironically Jacobs, who finished with two touchdowns and 123 yards on the ground, was selected with a draft pick the Raiders acquired in the Mack trade.

"We took the challenge head on," offensive tackle Kolton Miller added.

"We heard a lot about these guys being the number one defense in the league. We didn't really see on our film guys being able to run the rock on them.

"We took that challenge and we really took it to them and that helped our passing, helped us establish good field position. We played for four quarters."

There was supposed to be a deafening rendition of 'Return of the Mack' in London on Sunday, but Josh Jacobs and the Oakland Raiders' offensive line found the mute button.

All the build-up to the first NFL game at Tottenham between Oakland and the Chicago Bears centred around star pass rusher Khalil Mack - who was shipped to the Windy City just over a year ago - and his reunion with the franchise that let him go rather than paying him the $141million he received across six years from his current team.

Great pass rushers are, according to Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, "hard to find" and yet he had Mack, the man who came into this contest as analytics website PFF's top-ranked edge rusher in 2019. Since he was acquired, the Chicago defense had led the league in takeaways and sacks and conceded the fewest points.

Gruden had done his best to ignore 'Return of the Mack' all week, telling reporters he had no desire to discuss it, but his game-planning showed it was lodged firmly in his head, like that annoying song on the radio that lingers throughout the day.

Mack was double-teamed constantly, running plays were directed away from him and quarterback Derek Carr got the ball out quickly or rolled to the opposite side of the field to negate his threat.

By half-time, the Raiders were 17-0 up and threatening a beatdown having accumulated 208 yards of offense on a much-vaunted defense.

No one could hear 'Return of the Mack'. Instead it was running back Jacobs, the man selected with one of the picks Oakland acquired in the Mack trade, who was making all the noise having scored the first touchdown.

Then came the key change from Oakland's second offensive play of the second half. Carr's toss to Jacobs failed to find its intended target and a mad scramble for the ball ensued. Who came up with it? Khalil Mack. You knew that he'd be back.

The man who had been compared to NBA superstar LeBron James by team-mate Prince Amukamara for his ability to raise the game of those around him had provided a spark.

Suddenly the Bears were alive - Allen Robinson caught two touchdown passes and made another obscene catch, Tarik Cohen took a punt return 71 yards and Sherrick McManis forced a turnover by punching the ball out on the goalline. With less than eight minutes to go, Chicago were 21-17 ahead.

However, the most important series of the night was still to come. A 13-play, 97-yard drive dominated by who else but Jacobs, who reached out to score what proved to be the winning score in a 24-21 success.

Mack finished with three tackles, one quarterback hit, one fumble recovery and no sacks. Jacobs, meanwhile, had 26 carries for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

It was music to the ears of Gruden.

From post-game news conferences to next-day media availabilities, here are the 10 best Week 4 quotes from players and coaches around the NFL:

 

— Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice on Arizona Cardinals veteran Larry Fitzgerald potentially passing his all-time record of 1,549 career catches: "I told him, Larry, if you break one of my records, I've still got 36 more."

— Turns out Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Gardner Minshew goes by something else in the locker room: "His name is 'Jock Strap King'," Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette said after Sunday's game. "He's stronger than you think. I don't know if the moustache gives him power or what."

— Cincinnati Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd did not sugar-coat the team's blowout loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers in primetime: "We got embarrassed," he told reporters after the game. "Straight like that. It sucks."

— Steelers receiver Donte Moncrief remains in a limited role after dropping five passes through the first two weeks, but head coach Mike Tomlin could change that soon: "I like his attitude and work," Tomlin said. "You don't have to be in this a long time to realise the boomerang comes back around. He needs to be ready for it when it does."

— During his weekly segment on WEEI, New England Patriots star Tom Brady urged quarterbacks to be more careful when they run the ball: "A lot of quarterbacks who do run, they're trying to make yards and it's great. At the same time, you're susceptible to big hits."

— Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert would rather not block every down: "If I had a choice, I'd run routes every single play."

— Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien on scoring seven points on five red zone drives against the Carolina Panthers: "We should have more. We should be down there more and we need to produce more."

— Cleveland Browns coach Freddie Kitchens is still unhappy with Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey for allegedly choking Odell Beckham Jr.: "Did you see the video?" Kitchens asked reporters. "OK. That's my response. We're moving on to San Francisco. Everybody saw the video."

— Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack is not bitter about facing his former team for the first time since being traded: "It's another game, man," he said. "It's going to be a fun one because I know a few of the guys out there. But it's going to be a good one. Can't wait."

— Bradley Chubb's torn anterior cruciate ligament is not the first major injury the Denver Broncos defensive end has suffered: "In high school. It was actually crazy. Seven years to that exact date I tore my ACL, on the same day, September 29, 2012, and then September 29, 2019. It's crazy how that works. That was my first injury. Like I said, it made me who I am today."

Will a mysterious absence distract the Chicago Bears from the first ever NFL game played at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium?

We dive into the latest news regarding Roquan Smith and other headlines from around the league in this edition of NFL news and notes.

 

Three things that matter

Smith remains away from team

The star linebacker was listed as a surprise inactive just before Sunday’s win over the Minnesota Vikings for a "personal issue," and it was rumoured he had not been acting like himself around the team facilities in recent days. Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy declined to provide any new details on the situation Monday.

"He's completely a personal issue," he told reporters. "It's for us something that we're going to leave at that right now."

When pushed for more information on Roquan Smith's status and availability for Sunday, Nagy stood firm.

"Personal issue," he repeated. "I'm just going to say it was a personal issue. I'm not getting into anything else until... I'm just going to completely keep it at that."

Panthers place Short on season-ending IR

The Carolina Panthers announced the All-Pro defensive lineman has a partially torn rotator cuff that initially was suffered in the team's Week 2 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kawann Short has spent the last two games on the sidelines and will be staying put the rest of the year.

"KK has done everything he could possibly do to try to play these past two games," general manager Marty Hurney said, "but we have made the decision that it is in the best long-term interest of KK and the team that he undergo surgery to fix his shoulder and focus on his rehab and get ready for next season."

It is another huge loss for the Panthers, who are already without quarterback Cam Newton, though Kyle Allen has gone 2-0 in his two starts this season, so Carolina have been able to stay afloat in his absence.

Cowboys get 'best news' for Smith's ankle

Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith suffered a right ankle injury in Sunday's loss to the New Orleans Saints and needed to be carted off the sideline. While Jerry Jones said it is "unlikely" Smith plays this week against the Green Bay Packers, the Dallas Cowboys owner is optimistic he will not be missing in action long.

"We got the best news we could possibly get," Jones said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. "We couldn't have asked for better news. Looking forward to having him back out there quick."

Two things that don't matter

Mack hoped to be a Raider for life

Bears linebacker Khalil Mack thought he found his home in Oakland after the Raiders drafted him fifth overall in 2014, but a blockbuster trade last September changed that. Now, Mack is gearing up to face his former team for the first time since he was dealt.

"That's the expectation when you get drafted to a team: You want to be there for the long haul and bring championships and all those good things," Mack said. "It's the business side of it that doesn't really let you do that.

"It's another game, man. It's going to be a fun one because I know a few of the guys out there. But it's going to be a good one. Can't wait."

Miami vendor charged fan $724 for two beers

Overpriced refreshments at stadiums are a joke, but this fan was not laughing when his bank alerted him of the fraudulent transaction after his credit card was scanned to a personal card reader.

Nathaniel Collier was arrested and will face two felony charges for his alleged scam at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium during Sunday's Dolphins-Los Angeles Chargers game, including third-degree grand theft and possession of a skimming device.

Fortunately ,the fan received a refund, and Collier was fired by the independent contractor that hired him.

One video you have to see

The Los Angeles Rams offered fans a glimpse at the progress made on their new stadium.

Tuesday's tweet of the day

Could Dez Bryant swoop in to save one of the six remaining teams still in search of a win?

The NFC North might just be the strongest division in the NFL.

It was the Chicago Bears who surprisingly took the division title in 2018 as the league's stingiest defense helped first-time head coach Matt Nagy make an immediate impact.

The Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers took steps back but, given the wealth of talent on the two teams, it would not be surprising if either or both made deep playoff runs this time around, while most of Chicago's roster remains intact.

Here is the outlook for the NFC North heading into training camp:

TEAM ON THE RISE

Green Bay Packers

Surely the only way is up for a Packers team coming off back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1992? Aaron Rodgers will have extra motivation to prove it was former coach Mike McCarthy and not the quarterback that was the problem in Titletown. The defense already had a fine young core in Jaire Alexander, Blake Martinez and Kenny Clark. Throw in first-round picks Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage, and free-agency acquisitions Za'Darius Smith, Preston Smith and Adrian Amos, and Mike Pettine's unit has top-10 potential.

That, coupled with some typical Rodgers magic, should be enough for the Pack to get back on track under new coach Matt LaFleur.

TEAM ON THE DECLINE

Detroit Lions

The other NFC North teams enter the 2019 season all with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations, leaving the Lions as the odd ones out. Detroit finished 6-10 in Matt Patricia's debut campaign — losing seven of nine before a meaningless Week 17 clash with Green Bay — and the dip may get sharper in 2019. 

Patricia's old-school methods reportedly rubbed some the wrong way and the murmurs of discontent will only grow louder if Detroit cannot get off to a good start, with the Los Angeles Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, Packers and Vikings all on the schedule in a tricky opening six-game stretch. Then there is quarterback Matthew Stafford, who threw for a paltry 3,777 yards across 16 starts in 2018. At 31, he is running out of time to prove he can take the next step.

ROOKIES TO WATCH

T.J. Hockenson, TE, Lions: Former Patriots defensive coordinator Patricia saw in New England how a do-it-all tight end can transform an offense and Detroit drafted Hockenson eighth overall in the hope he could have a Rob Gronkowski-like impact in the Motor City. Only one Lions receiver — Kenny Golladay (1,063 yards) — accrued more than 517 receiving yards in 2018 and Levine Toilolo (263 yards) led all tight ends so Hockenson should provide an immediate upgrade.

David Montgomery, RB, Bears: Having traded Jordan Howard to the Eagles before the draft, Chicago moved up in the third round to pick Montgomery, an elusive back seemingly more suited to Nagy's offense. Tarik Cohen will once again provide the pizzazz outside the tackles but Montgomery can do plenty of damage inside for a team that had the sixth-most rushing attempts in 2018. If Kyler Murray doesn't live up to the hype, Montgomery might walk, or run, away with the Rookie of the Year prize for a Bears team likely to lean on the rush again given Mitchell Trubisky's limitations.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT

Kirk Cousins

He was supposed to be the man to push the Vikings over the hump but Minnesota missed the playoffs in 2018 after reaching the NFC championship game in the campaign before. Cousins begins the second season of a three-year, $84million, fully guaranteed contract desperate to prove he can be spectacular, and not just steady, and Minnesota has to find a way to better protect a QB who was sacked 40 times in 2018. In Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, Cousins has arguably the best wide receiver tandem in the NFL. If the offensive line can hold up, he has no excuses.

KEY INJURIES

Dalvin Cook, knee and hamstring: Cousins' life will become a lot easier if Minnesota's star running back can stay healthy. Cook has missed 17 games over his first two seasons in the league but has flashed plenty of ability in his time on the field. The Vikings brought in Gary Kubiak to aid their offense this season and Cook figures to thrive in his zone-blocking scheme if he can put his injury troubles behind him.

Kerryon Johnson, knee: Rookie Johnson snapped Detroit's 70-game streak of not having a 100-yard rusher, and he might have become their first 1,000-yard rusher since Reggie Bush in 2013 had a knee injury not ended his campaign prematurely. Heading into his second season, the Lions need Johnson to pick up where he left off as he will be the focus of the ground attack in an offense that might be one of the more run-oriented in the entire NFL.

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