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Bears Vs Buccaneers: Notes, Scribbles, and Things Jotted Down

The Bears beat their former head coach and his new team yesterday. We're going over our notes from yesterday's performance.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

  • Right away, the question I have is... Why does the Bears' offense continue to wait until the game's past the halfway point to actually try to get things done? Another game, another first half with no output. In fact, this week, only two of the Bears' first half drives had more than three plays (nine and seven), and neither of those drives went more than 26 yards. In fact, that nine play, 26-yard drive was the Bears second-longest drive on the day, before the 58-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter. That, quite frankly, is frightening. An offense just can't do anything when they aren't doing anything.
  • Not frightening, however, is the Bears' defense as they did what they had to do in holding down a poor Buccaneers offense. David Bass and Cornelius Washington had strong games, Stephen Paea was outstanding, and Jeremiah Ratliff even got in on the sack action. Josh McCown got absolutely hammered (13 quarterback hits), and the Bears made the Bucs pay for their inability to protect their quarterback, especially in that third quarter. Bass' forced fumble led to a touchdown, as did the tipped ball that wound up in Ryan Mundy's hands. If some of these depth guys like Bass and Washington keep going, and Paea's quietly solid year continues, maybe this defense can actually continue this growth against teams that don't play badly.
  • Speaking of safeties making interceptions, Chris Conte's interception was a bit of brilliancy on his part, especially hauling the ball back in.
  • Demontre Hurst came on a corner blitz, ran to the spot where McCown should have been, then sprinted after the quarterback and brought him down. But that brings up another aspect - as good as the pass rush was yesterday, most of the sacks came on extended plays, meaning the coverage units did a fantastic job. It also helps that once Kyle Fuller left the game, the Bears didn't have to contend with Mike Evans being put on Al Louis-Jean.
  • It also helps that the takeaways gave the Bears the shortest of short fields, because their ability to extend a drive was abysmal in this one. Jay Cutler in particular didn't have to do a whole lot, which is good, because he didn't look all that good. Part of that was the rain (but even then, the Bucs had Josh McCown throwing over 40 times), but more parts of that were drops, too. Martellus Bennett had more than his share. But Cutler's throws didn't look great this week either.
  • Cutler took his share of shots too though. The Bears' pass protection slipped up a little this week, including at least one coverage sack (which, well, that's not really on protection...). Initially, I thought I may have seen either a running lane for a first down or a quick throw, but I initially saw wrong.
  • Michael Ola got beat by Jacquies Smith pretty good; Smith had himself a solid game.
  • Speaking of running lanes, Matt Forte was bottled up pretty well, except on the play immediately after the first fumble. But it feels like at times they're just using him to use him, because some of the decisions utilizing him are head scratching, to say the least. Personally, I'm not a fan of the screen call on third and forever - yes, there are blockers, but you're still covering a huge distance, and starting off a couple yards behind too.
  • Then again, would you have wanted to do much passing yesterday?
  • The Bucs, despite their offensive and defensive rankings, still need to win on the strength of their defense - and it's hard to punch back when Josh McCown is giving the ball away inside the Bucs' 15 yard line. Which is good for the Bears on an otherwise punchless day. The defense offered up a short field, and the Bears were able to execute to pick up a short touchdown, twice. Isn't it nice when the defense makes it easy against a team they're supposed to make it easy against?
  • Josh McCown was having a rough day of it too, and the Bucs kept going back to him over and over again. Numerous overthrows, underthrows (the falling duck to a stationary #88 was beautiful - someone should write a haiku about it) - though he still did come up big on a deep throw to Vincent Jackson, and found Mike Evans in the corner of the end zone.
  • Now, the Vincent Jackson fumble to close out the Bucs' trinity of turnovers in the third quarter... it was iffy, if not an outright gift. The call stood, so they didn't have enough to turn it back over in their eyes, but Jackson looked down to me.
  • Marc Mariani looks like with proper blocking up front (and the Bears did make a blocking adjustment on specials this week, benching Khaseem Greene), he has enough return ability to make sure the Bears stay at the 20, or better.
  • I like the improvement in Cornelius Washington and David Bass this week. I'm not looking for one of them to start against Detroit, but I thought there was some legit growth on display.
  • Any lip readers want to tell me what Mike Evans said to Kyle Fuller after his touchdown? It did not look pleasant.
  • Robbie Gould doinked another one off the inside of the uprights. He hasn't made a field goal since New England, and is having a very unlike-Robbie Gould year.
  • It's really nice to see that the Bucs might be as good at silly penalties as the Bears have been, including a roughing-the-kicker penalty to keep the 1st-quarter nine-play drive alive and an illegal block to keep the seven-play drive alive in the second quarter. The Bears of course had to one up them with a false start on a punt.
  • So what have we learned this week? Nothing, because it was a bad game between one bad team and one slightly better than bad team, though not much better. The Bears went to 5-6 taking out the Falcons, Vikings and Bucs, two teams from the Division of Bad that is the NFC South and the new last-place team in the NFC North, not exactly something that boosts confidence, especially with the shades of fifty points still lingering, and losses to the more playoff-borderline Dolphins and Bills hanging over the team this year. Maybe with one or two of those, we feel a little better about the team, instead of the current spot.
  • That being said, the next game is against Detroit on Thanksgiving, and it's the early game. Detroit lost to New England, so they're certainly in reach for the Bears in the division, especially if the Bears can put together a sweep (hint: tall order this year). The division is probably out of reach with the Packers effectively four games up on the Bears, but the Bears are still alive, somehow.