Just four days after prevailing in an offensive shootout against the Los Angeles Chargers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to the Chicago Bears 20-19 in a Thursday Night Football field goal battle. The defense did its job for a good part of the game, but it was Tom Brady and the offense that struggled to find it’s footing after the first quarter. In addition to losing the game, they lost one of their star defensive lineman, Vita Vea, who was carted off the field.
Good start tails off.
The Buccaneers got of to a good start to open up Thursday Night’s contest against the Bears. Three of Tampa’s first four drives resulted in points. This included two Ryan Succop field goals, and a two-yard Tom Brady touchdown to Mike Evans. As good as the start was, there was definitely an opportunity for the Tampa Bay offense to put the game away early. The Bucs’ second drive was a three-and-out. They also had to settle for a FG on their fourth drive, after a pass interference penalty that put them in the red-zone.
Despite not having a perfect start, Tampa seemed in control. Brady and the offense came out to run the two minute drill to put points on the board before the half. Not only would they come up empty, but an unlucky and disastrous fumble would cost Tampa Bay dearly.
Brady would go 14-for-23 for 130 yards and a touchdown in the first half. Ronald Jones would compile 56 yards on 11 carries and rookie receiver Tyler Johnson would get 62 yards on 4 receptions.
Much the opposite
The Bears were the total opposite of the Bucs in the first half. The 24th-ranked offense looked to be struggling through the first quarter. Nick Foles would throw for just 60 yards in the first quarter. He would also throw an interception to Carlton Davis which would result in seven points for the Buccaneers. Late in the half, however, Foles and the Bears found their rhythm. Foles went 7-for-8 on their first touchdown drive, which was finished off by RB David Montgomery. To finish off the half, Chicago would cash in on their turnover. Tight end Jimmy Graham made a spectacular one-handed grab to put the Bears ahead 14-13 heading into the locker room.
Ahead 16-14 midway through the 3rd quarter, the Bucs’ offense had another opportunity to widen their lead. However, undisciplined play would cause Tampa to go backwards. Four consecutive plays with penalties, including a holding call and an unnecessary roughness call on the offensive line had Tom Brady in an unsurmountable distance. It was 1st and 30 at one point! Any points here would have made the difference in this ball game. They totaled 11 penalties for 109 yards.
Tampa Bay’s defense does it part
The defense deserved a better outcome. The sacked Nick Foles three times and held them to under 250 yards of total offense. In addition to the stats coming out well, they continued to give the offense a chance to win the game. They forced the bears to punt twice in the last six minutes of the game, giving the ball back to Brady. However, they were unable to do anything with it. In addition, had Ke’Shawn Vaughn not fumbled (not his fault, by the way) at the end of the first half, it could have been a totally different outcome. Could they have gotten one more stop? Sure, but they were 2/3 on potential game changing drives. This is on Brady and the offense.
Despite most of the blame on the offense as a whole, the offensive line did not help. The were whistled for quite a few penalties and allowed Brady to be sacked three times. They will have to improve if they hope to succeed against their next opponent.
Where to next?
No doubt, this is a tough one to swallow, as the Bucs’ defense played good, but their famed offense had its chances and could not produce. Unfortunate as it is, its time to move on and get back to work. Tampa Bay will have a long while to rest before a tough test in Green Bay on October 18th. They will need the time to get healthier, and work out the kinks in the offense. Green Bay is always a tough out.
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