Skip to main content

Bears Week 5 Report Card for 20-19 Win over Buccaneers

It's not all A's, but even the Bears seemed to have answers to fix all of their flaws by coming back to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady.

Keeping in mind the Bears again faced a team without a key weapon with wide receiver Chris Godwin sidelined, the effort in Thursday's 20-19 victory over Tampa Bay had to send optimism at Halas Hall soaring through the charts.

If only they can survive the long weekend away from football with the threat of COVID-19 out there.

The Bears did on defense what they've done much of the season, but did it this time against a legitimate playoff contender.

Nick Foles and the offense and the offense adjusted when the running game failed, then delivered at crucial times.

It was as big a victory over any opponent as the Bears have had at home since they beat Green Bay to clinch the NFC North title in 2018.

"Again, I said this a few weeks ago, there's something special about this team," coach Matt Nagy said. "We find ways to win

and it's not always pretty. We totally understand that."

The grades reflected how the win wasn't perfect but much of this revolved around their lack of a running attack.

Running Game: D-

The only aspect of the running game preventing a second straight F was how they had to do it in the second half after James Daniels went out with a pectoral injury. It's not easy running against Ndamukong Suh and William Gholston with a healthy line but with Alex Bars playing it was even more difficult. But 35 yards is inexcusable, and they didn't really abandon the run this time as much as other times in the past.

Passing Game: B+

Nick Foles missed two passes early he should have had, one for a huge gain down the sideline on a rollout and another downfield to Darnell Mooney. However, he made up for it by staying at it even after a slow start and a fifth-straight scoreless third quarter by the offense. The receivers produced some of their most clutch catches of the year in difficult circumstances, and not just the wideouts. Tight end Jimmy Graham's one-handed touchdown catch and the 17-yard wheel route to David Montgomery counted as certain team highlights when this season's story is written. The interception Foles through was more flukish and a good play by Carlton Davis, and Allen Robinson tipped it a bit to make it easier for Davis. But Foles didn't put the ball in the right place for a back-shoulder type of pass to work.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Run Defense: C+

The Buccaneers are not a strong running team and they didn't even have a healthy Leonard Fournette playing after he went from doubtful to starting due to injuries to other backs. However, they were still able to gain more than 100 yards and twice Roquan Smith was made to look foolish on broken tackles, while Danny Trevathan let one big-gainer break right past him into the secondary.

Pass Defense: A

From three sacks—and it would have been four without a penalty on what would have been Khalil Mack's third quarterback takedown—to getting Tom Brady nervous in the pocket and knocking down his passes, the pass defense stepped to the forefront. DeAndre Houston-Carson is a backup's backup and he came up with the game-clinching play, while Kyle Fuller had the game-changing play with a forced fumble. Giving up 233 net passing yards to Tampa Bay's high-powered attack is a win no matter which way it's sliced.

Special Teams: A

Only one penalty kept this from being a total victory. The special teams played their best game of the year by far, maybe best game since this coaching staff took over. They averaged their own 35 for a starting point to drives because of Cordarrelle Patterson's 39.7-yard return average on kicks. Cairo Santos earned himself another week on the roster with the game-winning 38-yard field goal and a huge fourth-quarter kick of 47 yards, and possibly the biggest special teams play was the 59-yard punt by Pat O'Donnell with Patterson and Javon Wims coverage that forced the Buccaneers back to their own 16 on their next-to-last possession, setting up the Bears on offense for their winning drive to begin at their own 48.

Coaching: A

When the running game wasn't working, they had to rely almost solely on passing but did it in a way to keep the threat of the run present. The RPO and play-action was the basis of their success on offense, and they had a handle on when Todd Bowles was bringing the blitz. At times the coverage appeared to even have Tom Brady perplexed, proving you can fool even the greatest of all time with deception. Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor must have been telling his groups about their poor ratings all week because they came out with their best effort of the year.

Overall: B+

Only the running game failures, falling behind 13-0 and another scoreless third quarter gave the Bears a reason to be concerned, but they're in with a 4-1 record and can sit back and watch the other teams do battle on the weekend.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven