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Bucs at Bears: Reviewing five keys to victory

Tampa Bay didn’t do much, if anything, right in the loss to Chicago.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Chicago Bears Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Well, I’ll go ahead and let everyone know, this is not a pretty review. Tampa Bay essentially failed in all five keys to victory that I outlined prior to the baffling blowout loss to Chicago.

It was a game where nothing went right. Seriously. Mitchell Trubisky had thrown just nine touchdowns to ten interceptions in his career before he got a chance to play the Buccaneers.

Offensively, it wasn’t any better against a Bears defense that pressured Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston all game.

1. Limiting turnovers

A week after turning the ball over four times against Pittsburgh, the Buccaneers lost possession of the ball three more times against Chicago.

Fitzpatrick tossed another interception after three against the Steelers while Jameis Winston threw two picks during his 2018 debut.

With a defense that is one of the worst in the NFL, Tampa Bay has to take extra care of the football going forward.

2. Slowing down the Chicago pass-rush

Tampa Bay allowed three sacks a week ago and they surrendered a season-high four sacks against the Bears vaunted pass-rush. It’s been an ugly two weeks for this offensive line after a solid start to the season.

Now, it seems like we’re left with more questions than answers. Were the first two weeks a fluke? Or were the last two weeks a fluke? It’s safe to say that this is a puzzle that needs to be solved quickly.

3. Flustering Mitchell Trubisky

Considering that Trubisky looked like the second coming of Joe Montana on Sunday, Tampa Bay failed here big time. The defense generated just one sack (in the first quarter) and three quarterback hits all day.

That allowed Trubisky to stand in the pocket and deliver passes. He finished the game with 364 yards and six touchdowns. How will the defense respond after getting absolutely picked apart by one of the worst quarterbacks on their schedule?

4. Scoring touchdowns in the red zone

After a 2/5 performance in the red zone against Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay wasn’t much better against the Bears. The Buccaneers finished 2/3 in the red zone and were forced to settle for a field goal during the first quarter from the Chicago 13-yard line.

The touchdown the Bucs scored didn’t come until the fourth quarter when this game was well out of a reach. You have to wonder if this team will take a step forward or stay relatively the same in the red zone with Jameis Winston leading the offense.

5. Finding more balance on offense

The running game has been a problem for Tampa Bay since week one. The Buccaneers had 112 rushing yards in their season-opening win over the New Orleans Saints.

In the three weeks since then, the Bucs have recorded a total of 166 yards on the ground. The offensive line has failed to consistently pave running lanes and the running backs haven’t been great at hitting them either.

Tampa Bay ran 18 times for 60 yards (3.3 YPC) against Chicago. They haven’t had a rush longer than 23 yards all season and have scored just one touchdown on the ground, courtesy of Fitzpatrick.