Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Bears rallied from a 10-0 first half deficit to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21-13. The Bears out-Lovie’d former head coach Lovie Smith with three second half takeaways which keyed their rally. It was not a good day at the office for former Bears backup quarterback Josh McCown, who tossed a couple of interceptions and lost a fumble.
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The Bears couldn’t get out of their own way in the first half, getting outgained 228 to 68. Jay Cutler was off. The wide receivers were off. The offensive line couldn’t pass block or run block. Matt Forte had 6 rushing attempts for 16 yards. Cutler had another giveaway on a strip sack. The offense had three first downs. It was a train wreck and it looked like Lovie Smith and Josh McCown were going to get the best of the Bears in their return to Chicago.
I wish I was a fly on the wall in the locker room at halftime because the Bears came out on fire in the second half. The defense stopped the Bucs on their opening drive and the offense marched right down the field to score an Alshon Jeffery touchdown to bring it to 10-7 margin. On the Bucs’ third possession, David Bass tracked down Josh McCown to force a fumble, which Christian Jones recovered. The Bears scored on a Matt Forte 13-yard run to take the lead they’d never relinquish.
On the Bucs next possession, McCown was picked off by Ryan Mundy to set the Bears up with prime field position yet again. The Bears cashed in with another Matt Forte TD to open up a 21-10 lead. The Bucs were able to move the ball on the next drive, but the turnover bug bit Vincent Jackson as he coughed up a fumble deep in Bears territory to quash a scoring chance. The Bears were able to hang on down the stretch to seal the win and extend to a 2-game winning streak and improve their record to 5-6.
Jay Cutler finished the day going 17/27 for 130 yards and a TD with no INT’s but did have that fumble. It was a quiet day for the wide receivers. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery COMBINED for 6 catches for 54 yards. Martellus Bennett led the Bears with 4 catches for 37 yards. With two rushing TD’s, Matt Forte passed Gale Sayers for 4th on the Chicago Bears all time TD list. He’s just a couple of TD’s behind Rick Caseras for third all time. Forte went over 1400 yards from scrimmage for the season, joining Curtis Martin and Ladanian Tomlinson as the only players to go over 1400 in their first 7 seasons. That’s some rare air for Forte.