The Tampa Bay Buccaneers faced off against the Chicago Bears on this week’s Thursday night matchup in Chicago. The storyline behind this game was Tom Brady vs Nick Foles for the second time ever, and the first time after Foles defeated Brady in the Super Bowl a few years back with the Eagles. This game, however, was far from a shootout between both QBs, and it was a great defensive battle ultimately. The Bears have one of the scariest front sevens in football, and it was on full display all night. The final score of the game was 20-19, Bears.
The big story after this matchup is going to be that Tom Brady forgot what down it was at the end of the game. He hopelessly held up four fingers, as if he thought it was going to be fourth down, but he was sadly mistaken that he had already played that down. Even the great Tom Brady is not rewarded five downs during clutch time. With the game in his hands, he failed to convert on fourth down and the game was all but over with about 30 seconds left.
Now this came after a series in which Brady had just gotten done yelling at his team to wake up on offense, because they seemingly had more penalties than plays that drive. I understand that Khalil Mack and the Bears pass rush is elite, but that is no excuse to hold and take away downs from your team by committing these penalties. This should be the main thing the Bucs work on in practice.
Another thing the Bucs need to work on is getting their guys healthy. The offense was clearly missing their weapons, specifically Chris Godwin, who missed this game with a hamstring issue. Mike Evans had a good game, but he could not do it all for this offense. Scotty Miller was not even targeted this game, and the tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate were more involved in the offense this week.
This did not look like the same explosive offense as it did in the second half against the Chargers. This defense was a lot more stifling and did not let Brady get comfortable all night. Ronald Jones had his way running the ball which was quite surprising to me. RoJo ended the game with 17 carries for 106 yards. It was surprising to see the Bears front seven get moved around against their will, but it just goes to show the dominance this offensive line can show.
The thing I’ve been going to bat for all season has been the Super Bowl caliber defense in Tampa. Their defense played extremely well despite the loss. The Bears offense is not one to be overly joyous to stop, but nonetheless it is an accomplishment. Carlton Davis had a nice interception early in the game while guarding Allen Robinson, and it looked as if this could turn momentum in the game, then Brady threw a TD to Mike Evans to go up 10-0.
The defense then had 2 TDs scored on them within a minute and a half. They gave up a 10 play 75 yard drive for a score, then after the Ke’shawn Vaughn catch and fumble that was challenged by Matt Nagy and won, the Bears scored again after they took advantage of the short field. The defense held Chicago to just two field goals all second half, but the offense could not hold up on its end of the bargain.
The good news about this loss is that it comes so early in the season, and they can build and work on the issues at hand. The bad news about this is that the Bears are a team that the Bucs are supposed to beat. They now fall to 3-2 on the season and the Saints are big favorites over the Chargers this Sunday. Winning the division may be the only way for the Bucs to make the playoff race, as it seems as if the NFC West may have two teams represented again. Also, the Bears now have the tiebreaker if they continue to play this well, the Bucs will regret this loss later on down the line.