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Buccaneers vs. Bears Recap: Bucs Annihilate Bears, 38-3

The Bucs thoroughly dominated this game from beginning to end.

It's very rare to see a win as dominating as the one the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-1) put together against the Chicago Bears (3-4). There's a reason the phrase "Any Given Sunday" exists, however, it certainly didn't stick around for the Bears during their Week 7 matchup with the Bucs.

Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes and the Bucs defense forced five turnovers en route to the Bucs' sixth win of the season that also represents the first 6-1 start in franchise history.


The Bears won the toss and chose to receive the ball. It didn't take long for the Bucs to get their first sack of the game as Antoine Winfield Jr. came clean off the left corner and plowed into Justin Fields on second down. Fields fumbled the ball, but the Bears recovered. Nevertheless, the Bears had to punt two plays later.

Rookie Jaelon Darden -who just took over as the team's primary kick returner this week- gave the Bucs offense great starting field position after a 43-yard punt return moved the ball to the Chicago 32.

Kindle Vildor was called for defensive pass interference on the next play. That gave the Bucs a 1st and 10 at the Bears' 17. Two Leonard Fournette runs led to the game's first score and Ryan Succop's PAT went through the uprights to give the Bucs a 7-0 lead with 11:58 to go in the first quarter.

Khalil Herbert got the Bears' next drive off to a great start with a 29-yard run on first down, but Cole Kmet dropped what would've been a nine-yard grab for a first down on 3rd and 8 and the Bears went three-and-out.

The Bucs responded with a three-and-out of their own. Roquan Smith dropped Giovani Bernard in the backfield for a four-yard loss on 3rd and 6, which forced the punt. The Bucs punted and the Bears started the next drive at their own 35.

The Bucs defense continued to swarm Fields and this time the Bucs were able to pick him off on third down. Fields was able to escape a Jason Pierre-Paul sack and tried to hit Allen Robinson deep as he bailed out of the pocket, but Fields overthrew the receiver and the ball landed right in the arms of Bucs cornerback Dee Delaney, who returned the interception 26-yards to the Bears 39. That is where the Bucs began their next drive.

A 21-yard pass from Brady to Chris Godwin set up the Bucs with a 1st and goal from the Chicago 9. Godwin came through with a six-yard touchdown catch on third down two plays later to give the Bucs a 14-0 lead with 4:37 to go in the first quarter Succop's PAT.

The Bucs defense came through again on the next drive. This time, it was Shaquil Barrett who got to Fields and this time, the Bucs recovered the fumble. Tampa Bay started its next drive at the Chicago 35 looking to make it a three-score game.

An 11-yard completion to Mike Evans and then a 12-yard run by Ronald Jones II set the Bucs up with a 1st and 10 at the Chicago 12. Brady then hit Evans over the middle a couple of plays later on third down for a nine-yard touchdown pass. Succop's PAT was good for a third time and the Bucs now led, 21-0, with six seconds left in the first quarter.

The touchdown pass to Evans was also a special one, as it represents Brady's 600th career touchdown pass. 

The Bucs defense dominated the Bears' next drive and had now given up just 23 total net yards on the last three drives. The Bears offense had amassed just 54 total yards at this point, while Brady had 51 passing yards, himself.

The Bucs offense began its next drive at its own 29. Jones was able to get things started with back-to-back runs of 10+ yards, but the Bears defense tightened up and forced the Bucs to punt. Jakeem Grant was able to return Bradley Pinion's 42-yard punt 13-yards up to the Bears 29, which is where the offense would start its next drive.

The drive didn't last long. JPP was able to turn the corner and get to Fields for the Bucs' third sack of the first half. It was another strip-sack. Barrett picked the ball up and started to run down the field, but it looked like he tried to lateral it. Either way, Devin White scooped up the ball and returned it to the Chicago 25.

Chicago's defense came up with another big stop and forced the Bucs to go three-and-out. Succop's 43-yard field goal attempt also sailed wide right and never had a shot, so the Bears avoided disaster as the score remained 21-0 with 10:01 to go in the first half. 

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The Bears' offense finally started to show signs of life on the next drive. Gains of 17-, 13-, 12-, and 6-yards took the offense into the Bucs' red zone and then a four-yard completion Robinson set the Bears up with a 1st and goal at the Tampa Bay 10. 

But Tampa Bay's defense didn't allow a single yard afterward and forced Chicago to attempt a 28-yard field goal. Cairo Santos' kick went through the uprights and the Bucs' lead was cut to 28-3 with 6:08 left in the first half.

Darden got things started off with an 11-yard gain on an end-around and then Godwin grabbed his fourth reception of the game to move the chains 10 more yards. Brady then hit Evans on a perfectly-placed, 46-yard pass down the left sideline and finished the job with a two-yard completion on the next play for the duo's second touchdown of the game. The touchdown pass was a great example of the ever-budding chemistry between Brady and Evans, but it was also an excellent effort by Evans as he spun around to make the falling catch. Brady completed all three pass attempts for 58 yards and the touchdown after six straight incompletions and the Bucs now led, 28-3, with 3:35 to go in the first half.  

Fields and Co. had to attempt a 4th and 4 from their own 49 on the next drive, but JPP ended any hope of a conversion with his second sack of the game.

The Bucs offense started its next drive at the Bears 48 and quickly faced a 3rd and 1 a couple plays into the series. It looked as if the Bears defense stopped the offense, but Alec Ogletree was called for defensive holding and the end result was a fresh set of downs for the Bucs.

Tampa Bay found itself in its own 4th down situation soon after, except it was a much more favorable 4th and inches from the Chicago 11 as opposed to 4th and 4. Regardless, Bruce Arians decided to go for it. Fournette bused through the line of scrimmage and gained three yards for the first down.

Another third down popped up, this time a 3rd and goal from the Chicago 8. Brady stepped up in the pocket and found Evans for their third touchdown connection of the first half. Succop's PAT went through and the Bucs now led, 35-3, with nine seconds left in the first half.

The Bears took a knee to go into the locker room and the Bucs received the ball to start the second half. A run-heavy strategy got the Bucs to midfield, but soon fell short on 3rd and 1, so the Bucs had to punt. 

Chicago converted its first third down of the game on its next drive and then Fields hit Darnell Mooney for a 22-yard gain into Bucs territory. The rookie quarterback completed a pass to Herbert on the next play, who took the ball 20-yards to the Bucs 23. 

But the Bears couldn't overcome a holding penalty on 3rd and 7 that created a 3rd and 12 and to make matters worse, Mooney couldn't control Field's pass and it resulted in Fields' second interception of the game. The ball went off Mooney's hands and into the arms of Jordan Whitehead, who returned the ball 17-yards to the Tampa Bay 33.

The Bucs pounded the ball on the next drive to the tune of 61 yards on seven carries but the eighth and ninth carries couldn't get the Bucs into the end zone. Tampa Bay even decided to go for it on 4th and goal from the 1, but Chicago's defense held Jones out of the end zone and gave the ball back to the offense.

But Fields wound up throwing his third interception of the game while standing in his own end zone. He underthrew Robinson and Pierre Desir was there to make the play. 

Brady hit Godwin in stride over the middle for a 34-yard gain to give the Bucs a 1st and goal from the Chicago 1, but Chicago held the Bucs out of the end zone again. Tampa Bay decided to kick a field goal instead of go for it this time around and Succop's 22-yard field goal attempt sailed through the uprights to give the Bucs a 38-3 lead with 12:51 left in the game.

The Bears next offensive drive ended with the Bucs defense dragging Fields down for a one-yard gain on 3rd and 17. The Bucs eventually put Blaine Gabbert in for Brady and Ke'Shawn Vaughn in for Fournette and Jones, signaling the beginning of the end.

The Bucs couldn't run the clock out and the Bears had one last shot at scoring a touchdown, but the Bucs defense held strong. Tampa Bay went on to win, 38-3.

Tampa Bay's next game is a divisional matchup as the team travels to New Orleans to play the Saints on Sunday, October 31. Kickoff is currently set for 4:25PM EST.

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