clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Winners and losers for Buccaneers vs. Bears

New, comments
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost their third straight game, falling 26-20 to the Chicago Bears in an ugly but winnable game.

Winners

Keith Tandy

He got his first start of the season at safety and immediately recorded three stops in the first two drives of the game. While we didn't see him much over the rest of the game, he continues to make plays when he gets some playing time. I'm not a big fan of Tandy, but there's some room for him on this roster somewhere.

Mike Evans

Four catches for 61 yards is a solid game, but he played better football than that. Evans prevented a pick at the start of the second quarter by coming back to the ball and swatting it out of a defensive back's hands, and he was open deep a couple of times but let down by Winston's deep accuracy. With a little more work on his hands and Winston and Evans finding some deep ball chemistry this offseason, next season could be very special.

Challenges

Two challenges, two successes. That's a new one. Neither challenge was particularly difficult, but the Bucs haven't had much success on challenging plays in years.

Jameis Winston

It was an up-and-down game for Jameis Winston, not getting much done in the first half, and throwing an ugly interception under pressure in the second while also missing on three open receivers down the field. But he also made a number of big plays, including a 50-yard touchdown throw to Charles SIms on a scramble, a 46-yard throw to Cameron Brate on another improvisational play, and a couple of big first-down throws he seems to make every game. But the biggest throw came at a meaningless time: a beautiful 43-yard Hail Mary throw, caught by Austin Seferian-Jenkins for a touchdown -- with just one second on the clock. Far from a perfect game for Winston, but he continued to show all the positive traits we've seen this year.

Losers

Lovie Smith

This is the third straight game the Buccaneers have lost to bad, very beatable teams. The Bucs are now 6-9, heading for a likely 6-10 finish and a very disappointing end to a promising season. The team has also had consistent issues with penalties, game management and personnel, all of which point directly back to Lovie Smith. While I would not expect him to be fired with two more years on his contract, it's certainly not impossible after this streak.

Penalties

The Bucs had just four penalties for 47 yards, which was a big improvement over previous games. Unfortunately they came at some horrible times.

In fact, three of them were called in a row in a key sequence in the first half. A first down was called back for illegal hands to the face on Donovan Smith, forcing the Bucs to punt. An interception on the ensuing Bears drive was then called back for a facemask penalty, setting up the Bears in Bucs territory. They then got the ball to the goal-line via a defensive pass interference penalty on Sterling Moore.

Three penalties and what could have been a 14-0 lead was instead turned into a 7-7 tie game.

Doug Martin

Two fumbles is bad, but in trying to get the league rushing lead Martin managed just 49 yards on 17 carries against one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. Meanwhile, Charles Sims had 45 yards on just four carries. Martin also didn't do anything through the air, with his one six-yard catch ending in that one fumble. The one bright spot: a four-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Connor Barth

Had his fifth miss since week 12. Though most of those were from long distances and it's likely just an unlucky streak, this is not a good luck for a kicker who's not particularly strong on kickoffs and can't seem to hit an onside kick so it's even remotely contested. He'll likely get some competition this offseason.

Defense

Continuing to let quarterbacks complete passes at a high rate, though they're still doing a very good job at stopping those passes from going anywhere: Jay Cutler completed 20 of 27 passes, but got just 156 yards. The defense was mostly disappointing for letting the Bears run out the clock at the end of the game, and once again failing to record a turnover. That's now one takeaway over the past five games -- it's hard to win games like that.