Bucs Implode in Smith’s Return to Chicago


Nov 23, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback

Jay Cutler

(6) fumbles the ball as he is sacked by Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle

Gerald McCoy

(93) in the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Lovie Smith’s return to Chicago looked to be going well for 30 minutes but wound up turning into another disaster.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers blew a 10-0 half time lead as they surrendered 21 third quarter points to the Chicago Bears Sunday afternoon.

Josh McCown had two turnovers in less than 30 seconds midway through the third quarter giving the Bears (5-6) the ball inside the Buccaneers’ 20-yard line and scoring touchdowns both times.

The Bears got a two-yard touchdown on their first possession of the second half as Jay Cutler hit Alshon Jeffery to cut the lead to 10-7 before McCown and the Bucs (2-9) imploded.

With 5:09 left in the third, McCown scrambled out of the pocket and was sacked from behind by David Bass and the ball was recovered by Stephen Paea. On the very next play, Matt Forte ran it in from 13 yards out.

On the Bucs’ next offensive play, McCown was picked off by Ryan Mundy as he overthrew Charles Sims. Four plays later, Forte was in the end zone again to give the Bears a 21-10 lead.

The Bucs offense responded on their next possession but Vincent Jackson fumbled at the four-yard line and Tim Jennings recovered. The turnover was reviewed and while it appeared Jackson had an elbow down, the ruling on the field stood.

Tampa Bay got a 38-yard field goal from Patrick Murray with 4:56 left in the fourth quarter but never got in a position for the potential game-tying touchdown.

The first half was all Tampa Bay as they got a 19-yard touchdown reception from Mike Evans and a 32-yard field goal by Murray in the second quarter. The Bucs defence held the Bears to just 68 yards of offense.

The Bears wound up with just 204 yards of offense but their defence forced four turnovers and shut down the Bucs’ running game. Tampa Bay also committed nine penalties as they unravelled in the second half as the offence showed ineptitude for extended periods of time.

McCown threw for 341 yards while both Jackson (117) and Louis Murphy (113) both had 100-yard receiving games.

Mason Foster had a team-high eight tackles while Danny Lansanah had seven as the Bucs played admirably on defence without Lavonte David, who was inactive with a hamstring injury.

Gerald McCoy had a sack that setup the touchdown pass to Evans while Jacquies Smith and Clinton McDonald also managed to get to Cutler.

The Buccaneers return home next Sunday as they host the Cincinnati Bengals.