Bears clobber suddenly hapless Bucs

by Gary Shelton on October 1, 2018 · 10 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Winston played in the second half./CARMEN MANDATO

Monday, 4 a.m.

You probably watched the game through your fingers, trying to endure the horror show that was the Tampa Bay Bucs. You watched as your head shook from side to side, as your eyes rolled. You watched until your face hurt.


The Tampa Bay Bucs watched this one from ground level, where they were trampled by the cleats of the Chicago Bears. They watched it from behind, as different Bear receivers weaved through an overmatched secondary. They watched with helpless look of villagers as the Huns rampaged through town.

It was embarrassing. It was humbling. It was a loss that undid much of  the good the Bucs had done in their first few weeks of the season. It was a loss that made you realize that this team isn't that far removed from its five-win season of a year ago.

“We were horrific in all aspects of football today," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said. "All aspects.”

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Jackson caught five passes for 112 yards./CARMEN MANDATO

“Based on that game today, we couldn’t make enough changes. We should fire every person who was on that field today, starting with me. That was horrific. 

It was a loss that felt like Raheem was back in charge, and Josh was at quarterback, and Lars was at running back. It was a loss that brought back the memories of so many bad Bucs battling in so many bumbling games.

It was 48-10, Chicago. And it could have been worse if the Bears had not been so darned nice about it.

Quarterback Mitch "Touchdown" Trubisky was the main culprit. He was supposed to be the weak link, right. He was the reason the Bucs had a chance, supposedly, because Trubisky was so much less than Drew Brees, Nick Foles and Ben Roethlisberger, the quarterbacks the Bucs had taken on in their first three weeks.

Ha. True Mitch was better than them all.  Trubisky had started 15 games before this one, and he had all of nine touchdown passes. He had six in this game -- and could have had more, because the Bucs' secondary had zero idea of where all those receivers were coming from. It was as if the Bears knew short cuts to the end zone.

In the end, Trubisky hit 19 of 26 passes for 354 yards. His rating was a cool 154.6. He had two receivers with more than 100 yards and a third with 86.

"We didn’t put enough pressure on them," Koetter said. "We didn’t cover them. They had 400 yards of offense at halftime. We didn’t do one thing well in any phase."

The thing is, it wasn't a new sight. Quarterbacks all seem to play well against the Bucs, whose idea of pass defense seems to be tackling an opponent who has just caught a 30-yard pass against them. In four games, the Bucs have faced 157 passing attempts. Only 36 have not been completions.

"We were not as good as we thought we were and we're not where we want to be right now as a defensive football team," linebacker Lavonte David said. "You all saw it, we didn't look good at all. From every aspect, from start to finish. It was just bad. Bad football all around."

Defensive coordinator Mike Smith, on his way to his second straight season of finishing last on defense, is sure to be criticized. And why not? His team has given up 150 points in four games.

"We can talk about what plays are called," Koetter said. But Mike Smith didn’t make any tackles or turn anyone loose in coverage. "You guys can make those innuendoes if you want, but we got beat in all aspects of football."

This one was so lopsided that a Bucs' fan couldn't discuss Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Jameis Winston, who replaced him in the second half. Winston had slightly better numbers -- he hit 16 of 20 -- against a secondary that played softer, but he also threw two interceptions, his old bugaboo.

In other words, there was no saving face for the Bucs. There wasn't an area of the field where you felt "well, the Bucs won that matchup." The team was out-coached, out-rushed, out-passed. It was out-hustled, out-thought and out-efforted. It was outran, out-blocked and out-tackled. It was as embarrassing as waking up naked in church.

What would you want to brag about? The running back (Ronald Jones) who had 29 yards, or the one (Payton Barber) who had 34? The quarterback who threw for 145 yards (Winston) or the one who threw for 126 (Fitzpatrick)? The defensive line that gave up 139 yards rushing, or the secondary that gave up 354? The four sacks the team surrendered, or the 99 yards worth of penalties?

It was so bad you expected Greg Schiano to come out for the post-game press conference. Or Lovie Smith. Or Leeman Bennett.

"We couldn’t play zone," Koetter said. "We couldn’t play man. Jt didn’t matter what we did today. They were running free and he (Trubisky) had time to throw it. He put it on the money.

"We didn’t have anything today. We had nothing today in any aspect. Based on the numbers, we weren’t good enough. There are three phases of the game, and we weren't good in any of them."

Before Sunday, Trubisky had only 300-yard day. The most touchdowns he had thrown for in a game was two. But the Bucs made him look like a star.

The Bucs now have a bye week before playing against the Falcons in Atlanta a week from Sunday.




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