There were moments throughout Sunday's game in Chicago where it appeared as if Tampa Bay was going to be able to pull out ahead and put the game out of reach. Unfortunately for them, they had a coaching staff on the sidelines that once again let them down.
For starters, the Buccaneers got away from the running game at the wrong times. Whether it has worked or not, we've seen them get away from it early and often countless times this season but this time around they were overly predictable as to when they were not going to run the football.
At the start of the second half, the Bucs ran only on first downs in their first three positions. The other downs were passes and the drives ended as follows: Punt, sack/fumble, interception.
Another sign of the Bucs being outcoached is when Bears' captain and All-Pro linebacker Lance Briggs went down at the end of the first half. See, Chicago made adjustments to their defense without their leade. They attacked the Bucs front and the Bucs couldn't take advantage of a Briggs-less Chicago defense. Instead, they played right into the Bears hands.
Passing attempts went up for the Buccaneers and Chicago preyed on that. Head coach Lovie Smith talked about the pressure from the Bears' pass rush.
“Up the middle and off of the edge too. Steven Paea had a great day against us, one of their inside guys," Smith said. "[Jeremiah] Ratliff was pretty tough too. But they got some pressure off the edge also.
“I think each week, straight rushes you’re going to get, and you’ll get different types of games, different stunts – pass rush games going on. So we got that [Sunday], and they were successful with some of it. But some of it was just straight rushes too, so we’re not going to blame it all on that.”
While Chicago made adjustments to pressure the Bucs offense, Tampa Bay returned the favor by sticking to their basic playcalling. There were no delayed hand offs, the screen they called was brought back sue to a penalty, etc. Plays like that keeps a defense honest.
But the Buccaneers' inept playcalling and coaching played right into the hands of a Bears team could have been put away early. Instead they came away with a win for the way they adjusted from the first half to the second half.
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