The instant reaction to this game is all negative from the coaching to the play calling to the players themselves. This game was ugly from the get go as the Buccaneers exited the first quarter with a 14-0 deficit. By half time the game was out of reach already as the Bears had a personal career record setting half by quarterback Mitch Trubiski who set career highs across the board by games end. The Buccaneers gave up 139 yards on the ground and another 354 through the air as the Chicago Bears offense ripped the defense to shreds. Mike Smith had zero answer to the offensive firepower of the Bears, with firepower being said with heavy sarcasm. The Buccaneers were unable to force a turnover all while the offense handed the ball over three times with interceptions. Let’s take a look at the individual units on both sides of the ball.
The offense officially has lost all mojo.
Fans all wanted to debate as to whether or not Jameis Winston should have started this football game and fear not folks, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s play in the first half assured us all that we would see Jameis start, only not the game but instead after half time with the team trailing 38-3. The quarterback play was atrocious in the first half and Jameis followed up Fitzpatrick by throwing two interceptions of his own but he did however lead the team down for a touchdown while completing 80% of his passes for 145 yards. Jameis Winston will be your week 6 starter without a shadow of a doubt after Fitzpatrick’s first half in week three and first half here in week four that saw him complete 50% of his passes for an interception. Koetter post game said as much as far as Winston most likely returning as the starter following the upcoming bye week for the team. The direct quote is in regards to the question posed here:
Q. Do you think he [Jameis] did enough to earn the starting position after the bye week?
DIRK KOETTER: Probably, but we’ll worry about that on another day. Again, I don’t -- Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t lose this game for us either. Don’t anybody think that -- if this is on any one person, it’s got to be on me. So if we’re going to put one person on there, put it on me.
The running game didn’t produce and there’s no real question as to why when you watch and see how horrible the offensive line played as a unite coupled with the 38-3 score at the half. Ronald Jones made his debut and other than a long run of 7, was ineffective on his 10 runs for 29 yards. Jones added a catch for a loss of one as well in his first game action of the year. Peyton Barber managed a 12 yard scamper and finished with 24 yards on 7 carries. Jones whiffed on a swing pass early in this ball game as well that killed any momentum and chance of the team staying in this ball game.
Receiving wise it was good see DeSean Jackson continue to dominate as he lead the team in receiving yards in large part thanks to a 48 yard grab while finishing with 112 yards on 5 grabs. Evans and Humphries each caught 6 passes as well in the match up. Noticeably absent from the stat sheet was O.J. Howard who finished with zero catches on 3 targets. Godwin ended his 3 game stretch of touchdown catches, finishing with 2 receptions on 2 targets for 22 yards.
Offensive line play as mentioned was disastrous and probably none no worse than Demar Dotson who had to line up repeatedly against Khalil Mack. Mack obliterated the offensive attack and nabbed himself a strip sack of Fitzpatrick in the first half. Ali Marpet struggled at times and his running mate at guard, Caleb Benenoch handed over a pair of sacks and struggled to do much of anything to help in the run game.
The defense was non existent throughout, getting bullied by the Bears offense.
Starting up front with the lone bright spot on defense is Jason Pierre-Paul who again got home on an opposing quarterback with the teams only sack on the day. JPP also led the defense in total tackles with 7. His running mates upfront of Vita Vea who made his NFL debut, Gerald McCoy, Vinny Curry and company laid a big fat egg in this one. McCoy got some early pressure but faded late in this game as the Bears bludgeoned the Buccaneers defense through the air and on the ground hard in the second half. Vita Vea looked sluggish in his debut and fans will be quick to point to his empty stat sheet produced by his limited play.
Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander didn’t have their best games, Alexander in particular struggled in this one both against the pass and run. Alexander finished with a meek 2 tackles while Chicago ran the ball a total of 31 times in this ball game. Lavonte David finished with 6 total tackles. Both linebackers struggled out in coverage in this ball game, as did the entire defense for that matter.
The secondary was honestly the biggest disappointment of them all despite expectations already being low coming into this match up. Justin Evans gave up a big strike early as he slipped in coverage. Brent Grimes play was equally as bad in this one as it was a week ago and this time, the staff made a change and put in Ryan Smith which is a decision that maybe should have been made a week ago. None the less, Smith played slightly better than Grimes in his half of play. The Bears aired it out in this one with second year QB Mitch Trubiski and quite frankly, Mike Smith had zero answers as they did their best job making Mitch look like Peyton Manning in his prime. 6 touchdowns through the air is just an inexcusable feet a futility. Rookies M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis struggled a lot in this game as well which is to be expected of two young players but it was still a bit shocking considering how well the duo has played leading up to this game.
Final reaction to the game.
After watching this football game one thing is evident, Mike Smith is not a playoff caliber coach, it’s quite possible that Mike Smith is the worst defensive coordinator in the NFC. An elite offense, frankly a record setting offense, was needed to mask the defenses ineptitude the first two games and Mike Smith is the main common denominator after three seasons of unwatchable football on that side of the ball (minus a fluke stretch in 2016). Our own Gil Arcia posed the question and it may be time to make a change, Mike Smith is possibly costing this team a chance at being average on defense and he may just be costing Dirk Koetter his job in the long run.