They’ve made a habit of starting slow in 2020, but the Bears 1 point win over the Bucs on Thursday night was a true statement game. Taking on one of the NFL’s most hyped storylines of the 2020 season, the Bears defence stepped up and shut down Tom Brady in the second half to move to 4-1.
For their part the Bucs weren’t focussed on the Bears defensive efforts. “We just had some negative plays in the second half,” Brady said. “When you get behind in down and distance, that’s not where you want to be. So we all have to do a better job.
“This isn’t any one position. This isn’t any one player. This is a teamwide thing that we all got to collectively learn each other quickly and make improvements quickly. We all have to do a better job.”
Bears 1 point win down to defence
While execution was certainly an issue for Tampa Bay, along with a ludicrous amount of second half penalties, putting it all on the Bucs would do the Bears a disservice. It was the aggressive smash-mouth defense that changed the game, and the Bucs simply couldn’t handle it.
Down 13-0 in the second quarter, streaky quarterback Nick Foles finally got hot, taking the Bears on a 75-yard drive to pull the Bears within 6 with 1:48 to go. But if the Bucs were thinking of scoring again before half-time they were out of luck.
After back-to-back incompletions, Brady dumped the ball off to rookie RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn and he got monstered by Kyle Fuller, coughing up the ball and with it the Bucs momentum. The Bears would take the lead 55 seconds later on a beautiful pass from Foles to tight end Jimmy Graham.
The Bucs had lost all their composure and gained just 118 yards in a second-half dominated by penalties and mistakes. With both teams adding two field-goals apiece it was the Bears who moved on and gained a lot of respect.
The Bucs have been heavily touted as potential Super Bowl contenders, but on this night the Bears defence made them look ordinary. On the other side of the ball, the Bucs defence still looks a solid unit, and held the Bears to 243 yards on the night.
Having seen the Bears 1 point win against an improving Tom Brady led offence, the NFL will have taken notice that Chicago are once again a team to be reckoned with in 2019.