Well that was…… something. The Buccaneers had a huge opportunity in this game to make a statement. Beat the Bears to go 3-1 heading into the bye week? Yeah, that did not happen. The only statement the Buccaneers made was that their defense is the worst in the NFL and their offensive line is still a work in progress. The Bucs lost in embarrassing fashion to the Chicago Bears by a score of 48-10. This game was all around awful. Really not much to say, but let’s see what I can do.
How they started
Well the Bucs won the toss and decided to put the defense out there to start. The Bears and young QB Mitchell Trubisky went to work and they did not slow down. The Bears marched down the field with ease and the drive ended with Justin Evans falling down, leaving Trey Burton wide open for the touchdown. But at least the offense gets the ball, right? Well they did get the ball, but it did not really matter. The Bucs could not get anything going on the first series and the play calling on that series was pretty disappointing. It was a screen to Adam Humphries that went nowhere, a run by Peyton Barber that did not go anywhere and then an incompletion and just like that, the Bucs were giving the ball back. It was time for the defense to step up and they did. The defense forced the Bears to go 3 and out after a Jason Pierre-Paul sack on 3rd down. The offense then went back out and just could not get anything. That’s when things started to get a little crazy. The Bears got the ball and drove down with ease again. Trubisky found wide open receiver after wide open receiver. And now the score was 14-0. The Bucs finally were able to get something going when Fitzpatrick hit Desean Jackson for 48 yards and got the Bucs in field goal range, they would need it. The Bucs were not able to get anything once they got in the red zone and were forced to settle for 3. The score was 14-3, the Bucs were showing some life…. until the defense went back out. It was the same story, just a different drive. The receivers were getting wide open, the Bucs defenders looked confused, there was no pass rush, just overall bad. The score was now 21-3 and things started to get out of hand. I could go on and on but when the offense was on the field, nothing changed. Everything looked completely out of sync. The Bears would score another touchdown, and then another. It was 35-3 when Dirk Koetter made some questionable decisions with his timeouts and it gave the Bears enough time to kick a field goal and walk into halftime up 38-3. Embarrassing.
At the Half
There were some chirps of Jameis Winston possibly starting in this game, but those chirps grew even louder when Ryan Fitzpatrick could only produce 3 points. The deficite the Bus faced was not on Fitzpatrick, but the team needed a spark. Oh and for the defense? I will get to them later. Halftime came and went and when the Buccaneers went back out, Jameis Winston was warming up on the sideline with his helmet on.
How they finished
Winston came out to start the 2nd half and was under duress immediately. His arm was hit by a Bears defender and the ball popped up in the air and landed into the arms of a player not wearing Buccaneer colors. That interception was not on him, the offensive line simply could not handle the Bears pass rush. They did not help Fitzpatrick and they did not help Winston. So the Bears got the ball back and can you guess what they did? You probably guessed it right. They scored a touchdown. Trubicky’s 6th of the game and the score was 45-3. After a few meh drives, the Bucs were finally able to get into the end zone when Winston lofted a pretty pass to Cameron Brate to get the Bucs 6 points. The extra point was good and the score was now 45-10. The Bears got into field goal range again and Cody Parkey nailed a field goal to make it 48-10. The Bucs were then driving and Winston was picked off by Aaron Lynch. A fitting end to an ugly game.
I am gonna say it right now, Mike Smith needs to be fired. I know that they probably will not fire him, but he needs to be. The performances this defense has produced have been embarrassing. Giving up 40 to Drew Brees is bad, but understandable. The defense played decent against the Eagles, the Steelers offense is high powered. However, this Bears team was not good on offense this entire season. Trubisky had thrown 2 Touchdowns before this game and throws 6 in one game? Are you kidding me? Maybe the Bucs defense needs a new voice. Maybe they need someone who will motivate them. Maybe they need someone who will make in game adjustments. Right now, Mike Smith ain’t that guy. This defense is now getting close to historically bad. That 5 game stretch for the defense in 2016 was a complete fluke. The game has passed Mike Smith bye. Will Dirk Koetter Fire his friend? I don’t think so, but it should not be up to him. The Glazers need to step in and give Koetter a choice, either fire Smith, replace him with someone already on the staff and maybe you can last after this year, or risk getting yourself and the rest of your staff fired at the end of the season. Choose wisely. No, the season is not over for the Buccaneers. But it should be for Mike Smith.