This one was U-g-l-y and there was no alibi for the offensive game plan the Chicago Bears trotted out there against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sure losing your starting right tackle hours before kickoff was unfortunate, but even if he was able to play, Elijah Wilkinson surely would have needed some help against the Bucs’ talented edge rushers. So not providing any help for Lachavious Simmons in his first career start was criminal.
The Bears have a rookie quarterback, but they aren't putting him in the best possible situation for success. I’m not saying you simplify the offense for Justin Fields, I’m saying you simplify the offense because the pass protection is struggling. And yes, part of the pass pro is on the QB, so you need to take away as many variables that could affect pressure. Every pass play the Bears run should have some of the following; max protect, extra blockers, chip help, check releases, and a moving pocket.
Since Fields doesn’t have enough time to get through more than 2 progressions, stop giving him full field reads. Send a couple guys into the pattern with a third on a check release option route, and if there’s nothing there then coach him up to take off and get some yards.
Let’s look at a few numbers.
Tom Brady and the Bucs coasted to a 38 to 3 victory, they racked up 408 total yards to the Bears’ 311, and they had 28 first downs to Chicago’s 17. Tampa Bay won the turnover battle 5 to 1, they had fewer penalties (1 for 10 yards to the Bears’ 4 for 32), and they led in time of possession 31:05 to 28:55.
It was a total domination by the Buccaneers.
Now let’s take a closer look at the playing time break downs for the Bears and also some of their individual stats.
Fields had plenty of rookie moments in this one, and he finished 22 of 32 for 184 yards, with 3 interceptions and a passer rating of 44.3. He had 8 runs for 38 yards, but was was sacked 4 times, and fumbled 3 times (losing 2).
Rookie running back Khalil Herbert had another stellar game, and this time he managed to crack triple digits by rushing for an even 100 yards on 18 carries (5.6 ypc), and he caught 5 passes for 33 yards.
Tight end Cole Kmet led the Bears in receiving with 43 yards on 5 grabs. Fellow tight end Jesse James had 3 receptions for 20 yards.
Wide out Darnell Mooney led his position group with 39 yards on 2 catches.
Center Sam Mustipher had another poor snap which gave him his second fumble in as many weeks.
I speculated about it on Sunday, but with Simmons getting the start at right tackle, that probably meant they had Alex Bars in the game plan as their 6th o-lineman again this week. And with Bars replacing Simmons, and no other OL manning that 6th spot, that seems to be the case.
Allowing tight end/fullback J.P. Holtz to play more snaps in a blocking role would have made some sense however.
Roquan Smith had a game high 13 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and a pass defended.
DeAndre Houston-Carson racked up career high 11 tackles in his first career start, with a PD and a fumble recovery, and the other starting safety, Eddie Jackson, had a career matching 11 tackles.
Linebacker Alec Ogletree had 4 tackles and a forced fumble, and corner Kindle Vildor had 3 tackles and 2 PD.
Duke Shelley was back starting at nickel and he had 3 tackles and a PD.
The Bears has no sacks, 1 quarterback hit, and 3 tackles for loss.
Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady shredded the Bears D with 4 TD passes on 20 of 36 passing for 211 yards, and a passer rating of 109.8.
The Bucs running game went for 182 yards on 31 carries (5.9 ypc) and a TD.
Bilal Nichols was ejected for punching a man in his facemask, but before he left he had 2 tackles.
*The above image has players that only played in the third phase.
Patrick O’Donnell punted 4 times for a 40.0 yard average, but a 24.3 net average thanks in part to a 43 yard punt return that he was credited with making the tackle on.
Cairo Santos accounted for all the Bears scoring with a 28 yard field goal.
Jakeem Grant returned 2 punts for 13 yards.
All statistics and snap counts are taken directly from the NFL’s Game Statistic and Information System, as are the accompanying pictures.
To check out the full Bears vs Buccaneers box score I find that ESPN has an easy to navigate site.