Bears lose in a bore

The Bears had nothing to play for, but pride and couldn't muster up enough to stop the <!--Default NodeId For Tampa Bay is 117,2005--><A HREF=>Tampa Bay</A> Buccaneers from claiming a first round bye in the postseason.

In a lack luster performance the Bucs handed the Bears their first shutout loss at home since Sept. 19, 1982 against New Orleans.

The Bears kept the game close (6-0) into the fourth quarter, but three turnovers in the final period put the team in a compromising position.

Still, the defense allowed just five field goals.

"Our defense played a really good football game," said head coach Dick Jauron. "We held them to five field goals, but we couldn't get anything going on offense."

With Henry Burris under center never found the offensive rhythm necessary to consistently move the ball. He threw just 14 times for 61 yards and was intercepted four times.

Burris didn't get many snaps during the week because Chris Chandler, who was inactive because of lingering problems from a concussion he suffered against the Panthers, took snaps up until the Friday before the game. Although, Burris said as a backup he needed to be ready no matter what, he obviously struggled.

"You have to just go with the flow as a backup," Burris said. "Always being ready to go is the key. I have my first season under me now, so I have a good idea of what needs to be done as a quarterback in this league."

When the Bears did get deep into Bucs territory right before the half, a Burris interception ended the threat. The quarterback stared down his intended target in Marty Booker and Derrick Brooks stepped in front of the pass and returned it 44 yards setting up Martin Gramatica's second field goal of the game and gave Tampa a 6-0 lead at the break.

It was hard to tell if the game was a defensive struggle or just two inept offenses. Tampa started Rob Johnson at quarterback because Brad Johnson was inactive with a back injury.

Rob Johnson, who has been sacked an NFL worst once every 6.8 pass attempts over his eight year career, had pressure put on him by the defensive as the unit produced five sacks. However, Johnson managed the game well for the Bucs and didn't make any costly mistakes as he completed 16-25 pass attempts for 134 yards.

Brian Urlacher, who led the team with nine solo tackles, said the defense didn't play up to standards because of one simple fact.

"We didn't get any takeaways," Urlacher said.

For the first in 33 games the Bears defense didn't force a turnover snapping the second longest active streak, while the Bucs extended their streak to 40 games with four interceptions.

Adrian Peterson showed well in limited action. The rookie was the Bears leading rusher with 42 yards on 7 carries. He broke two different runs of 14 yards and would have gotten the ball more if the offense didn't loose control of the ball.

"I think he's proven there's going to be some strong competition for that position in the future," said offensive coordinator John Shoop. "Unfortunately after he had that long run (of 14 yards) two of the next three plays were interceptions. We would have liked him to carry the ball some more, we certainly didn't anticipate the second and third interception of the game."

The Bears finish the year 4-12, which is their worst finish since 1998. It's also the third time in four years Dick Jauron has double-digit losses.

Even Jauron admitted part of him is glad to the see the season come to an end.

"To be perfectly honest, there is a part, not a large part, that is (glad the season is over)," Jauron said. "But, in the offseason, you miss the team, you miss the practices, and you certainly miss the Sundays. When you don't have a chance for the playoffs, there is a part of me that says put 2002 to bed and look forward to next season."

One redeeming point about the losing season is the fact the Bears will have a top choice in April's draft. The Bears and Houston Texans both have 4-12 records, the Monday Night game between the Rams and 49ers will decide who picks 3rd and who picks 4th because strength of schedule is used as a tiebreaker.

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