Heading into Week 3’s matchup vs. the Buccaneers and what was labeled as the “Game Of The Week”, the Bears focused on their pass defense as they knew Brady would be tough to stop with his pin point accuracy, savvy QB play and the plethora of weapons the Bucs offense has. When on paper don’t favor any defense on any week and this week.
Prior to the game we spoke with Coach Shadez and asked him what he thought would be the key to winning the game and going 3-0. He had this to say…”Well, Brady is obviously a huge part of this offense and makes everyone around him even better than they already are. We’ll look to limit his touches and put the onus on our offense to do so. Our running game has surprisingly been overly productive early this season and has put us in position where we haven’t had to throw the ball that much thus far. Hopefully, we can continue that this week but we want to start incorporating our passing game a little more this week and become a more balanced offense. Tarik has been great so far but we don’t want to ride him into the ground either. We’ll need him to remain healthy all season. Defensively, our guys are focused and know the task at hand. We’ll see if the game plan works for us this week and gets us off to a 3-0 start to the season.”
The Bears first drive couldn’t have gone any better than anticipated. The Bears were forced to get Foles involved early. Cohen struggled early but with the offense moving the ball through the air on some big 3rd down passes the offense was able to cap their first drive with a Cohen 5 yard run carrying defenders into the end zone with him.
The Bears defense would hold the Bucs to a 3 and out on the Bucs first possession of the game. Two plays into the Bears 2nd possession Tarik Cohen would break a Winfield Jr. tackle and take it to the house on a 65 yard run. The play would have never happened though had LT Charles Leno not hustled down the field to make the key block on the Bucs safety after Cohen broke the tackle. Bears up early 14-0 on the Bucs with less than a minute left in the 1st quarter.
Brady and the crew would get on track moving the ball on the Bears defense with some nice passing and timely run plays. Unfortunately, DE Akiem Hicks was able to hit Brady as he was throwing on 3rd and 5 from the Bucs own 44 yard line to put an end to the drive. The Bucs would punt the ball out of bounds on the 1 with 5 minutes and change to go in the 2nd. The Bears would march down the field on some nice runs by Cohen as well as passes to Rookie TE Cole Kmet for 22 and Robinson for 18. The Bucs defense would make a stop on the Bears 11. The Bears would add 3 more points on the field goal to go up 17-0 with 8 seconds left in the half.
Bucs receive to start the half and try to get their run game going with Fournette who the Bears had held to only 13 yards in the first half. Brady would hit Smith on a deep in only to have Smith drop the ball as he was falling to the ground. 3rd and long again for the Bucs. Brady would drop back, Mack would apply pressure as Brady stepped up into the pocket and throws a pass right to the Bears rookie CB Jaylon Johnson for the pick 6. Bears go up 24-0 and the light begins to go out on the Bucs hopes of going 3-0 to start the young season. The Bucs would begin to air the ball out trailing by 24 points and the Bears defense would pin it’s ears back and attack Brady. Midway through the 3rd quarter Mack would finally get to Brady to force a 2nd and 20 from the Bears 42 yard line. Brady would drop back and see a wide open Chris Godwin flashing across the field. LB Danny Trevathan also saw him and hustled over to help out Jaylon Johnson and jumped Brady’s pass for the Bears 2nd interception of the game.
With the game in hand the Bears looked to step on the throats of the Buccaneers and went for it on 4th and 5 midway through the 3rd quarter. The Bucs held and got Tom Brady the ball back. Brady would drive the Bucs to the 18 only to force a ball to WR Michael Evans in the end zone with safety help over the middle by Deon Bush who intercepted Brady for the 3rd time in the game. The Bears would begin to play the time of possession game and go conservative on offense. Cohen was able to break some decent runs to keep the chains moving. The Bears would drive all the way down to their own 40 yard line where Piniero would come out and shank a 50 yard field goal attempt far right. The Bucs would eventually get a drive going down the stretch with the Bears in a prevent shell to add a late TD.
Good game @chip-chipdata
Time to hit the practice field for next weeks matchup vs the Cincinnati Bengals.