The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are off to the best start in team history after dismantling the Chicago bears 38-3. The Buccaneers are 6-1 on the season, which is the best start in franchise history.
The Bucs defense had their way with Bears quarterback Justin Fields sacking him four times and picking him off three times. Fields also had two fumbles that resulted in excellent field position for the Buccaneer offense.
Despite the 35 point win, Bruce Arians was not happy with the offense. Twice in the second half, the Bucs set up inside the Bear’s five-yard line with a first and goal and came away with zero points both times.
The Bucs had a fourth and goal from the one, and Leonard Fournette lost three yards on the first play of that series. Two Tom Brady incompletions later, the Bucs had to settle for a Ryan Succop 22 yard field goal. Ronald Jones also fumbled on a fourth and goal from the Bears one-yard line, giving the ball back to the Bears.
In those situations, the Bucs have to improve in the red zone, which is why Arians was so upset.
Offensively, we left about 20 points out there. We scored 38 points and really did not play very well offensively.
Despite missing those points in the red zone, it was another record-breaking day for Tom Brady as he threw for his 600th career touchdown pass. The nine-yard pass from Brady to Mike Evans late in the first quarter gave the Bucs an insurmountable 21-0 lead.
Brady, however, would finish the game with 211 yards passing and four touchdown passes, giving him 602 touchdown passes in his career.
The Bucs were able to run the ball with authority and run the ball at will as they rolled up 182 yards on the ground with everyone contributing. Leonard Fournette ran for 81 yards; furthermore, Ronald Jones would have his best game this season as he ran for 63 yards on ten carries.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn ran for 27 yards in the fourth quarter as the Bucs sat most of the starters and looked just to run the clock.
Defensively, this was the best defensive performance by the Bucs that we have witnessed this season. Four sacks, three interceptions, and two fumble recoveries
Jason Pierre-Paul, playing with a torn labrum and a broken finger, had two sacks. Shaquille Barrett and Antoine Winfield Jr. had the two other sacks.
Pierre-Paul spoke with the media after the game about his performance against the Bears:
I’m just out there giving it my all for my teammates. That’s just the beauty of it when you win the game and have a good game. We know what we can do. Coach Bowles is always screaming; we can do more. I just know we can do more.
And the Bucs defense has done that over the last three weeks, improving every game.
Dee Delaney, Pierre Desir, and Jordan Whitehead all had interceptions for the Buccaneers.
Tom Brady talked about the tremendous all-around effort in his post-game press conference.
So many guys played great tonight. The running backs played great. The line played phenomenal. The defense was incredible. The receivers did a good job. I just wish I had a couple of better throws, but other than that, it was a great win.
Injuries, however, continue to haunt the Bucs as defensive backs Dee Delaney and Jamel Dean left the game with injuries. The Bucs cannot afford any more injuries in the defensive backfield with Sean Murphy-Bunting, Richard Sherman, and Carlton Davis already out with injuries.
However, Arians continues to be impressed by the way this defense comes together on game day.
It’s a heck of a roster. When you look at all of the guys who have not played the last three weeks and who stepped up, it’s a credit to Jason Licht and John Spytek, those guys, and giving us good players. But it’s a hell of a job by the coaches coaching those guys in a week or two weeks and getting them ready to play against a really quality football team. I think it speaks volumes. I wish and hope we get a bunch of guys back if not this week, for sure two weeks.
Jaelon Darden got his chance in the return game, and he showed everyone why he is so highly touted as a returner. He returned his first punt in the first quarter for 43 yards, and that was the only chance that Darden would get as the Bears would kick away from Darden the rest of the game.
It was good to see the Bucs play disciplined football today as they were penalized just once for ten yards.
The Bucs will visit New Orleans next weekend in what will be an emotional game for both teams. The Bucs will match up with their ex-teammate and former quarterback Jameis Winston.
The Buccaneers and Saints have had great battles over the years, and Sunday, however, will be no different.
The Bucs are now 6-1 after seven games. They now have a one-and-a-half-game lead on the Saints in the NFC South.