TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Chicago Bears are determined to finish the season strong, even if they aren't headed to the playoffs.
Ka'Deem Carey caught a touchdown pass from Jay Cutler and the third-string running back also scored on a 1-yard run to help the Bears stop a three-game losing streak with a 26-21 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Carey's 1-yard scoring reception put the Bears (6-9) ahead for good early in the fourth quarter. The second-year pro teamed with Matt Forte and Jeremy Langford to spearhead a rushing attack that gained 174 yards and kept Jameis Winston off the field for long stretches.
The victory was only the second in the past six games for the Bears. Tampa Bay has lost four of five, including three straight after rebounding from a slow start to climb into contention for a wild-card playoff berth.
Winston completed 15 of 29 passes for 295 yards with one costly interception. He threw for two TDs, including a 43-yard Hail Mary toss to Austin Seferian-Jenkins with one second remaining.
Cutler was 20 of 27 for 156 yards, one TD and no interceptions. Robbie Gould kicked first-half field goals of 26 and 27 yards, then added a couple of long ones — 49 and 50 yards — after Tampa Bay took the lead early in the second half.
The Bears, meanwhile, forced three turnovers — one of them Harold Jones-Quartey's goal-line interception — and limited Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin to 49 yards rushing on 17 attempts.
Both teams were eliminated from playoff contention last week, but want to use the final two games of the season to learn about young players and set the tone for next year.
One of Tampa Bay's goals also is to try to help Doug Martin win the NFL rushing title. The fourth-year pro entered day as the league's second-leading rusher, 9 yards behind Adrian Peterson.
Martin scored on a 4-yard run set up by a blocked punt, but the Bears outrushed the Bucs 95-40 and controlled the ball for just over 20 minutes in building a 13-7 halftime lead.
Determined to not continue down that path, Winston handed off to Martin five consecutive times at the start of the third quarter and before finishing a six-play, 78-yard touchdown drive with a sideline throw to Charles Sims that the running back turned into a 50-yard scoring play to put the Bucs ahead 14-13.
The lead stood until Martin's second fumble of the day, caused by Chicago linebacker Jonathan Anderson and recovered by John Timu at the Bucs 24, helped the Bears regain control.
Cutler's TD throw to Carey put Chicago up by six points, and Gould's 50-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter made it a two-score game.null