Of the many offensive drives the Bucs had throughout the game on Sunday, none were bigger factors in their loss to the Chicago Bears than drives they had in the third quarter. Tampa Bay had chances to extend those drives and not turn the ball over but unfortunately there were errors committed by their captain and signal caller, Josh McCown.
The Buccaneers went three-and-out in their first series after halftime. On a second-and-9 from the Bears' 17-yard line, McCown threw a pass out to the flat to running back Doug Martin which fell incomplete. The Bucs' veteran quarterback started the play by looking to his left to Mike Evans once set, McCown was still looking that way and once he had nothing to his left he quickly turned to his right and threw it to Martin.
What McCown never saw -- or perhaps his "progressions never took him there" -- was a streaking Vincent Jackson who ran past his defender sitting in a zone with a safety dropping deep in coverage as shown below. A pass Jackson's way would have gone for a first down and more.
On the Bucs' drive that followed, the team was facing a second-and-5 situation from the Bears' 25-yard line. McCown dropped back and started to his right, went back to his left than back to the right and threw a ball to Mike Evans that sailed out of bounds who was running an "out" to the sidelines. If he would have stayed on Jackson, who was running an "in", he could have picked up a first down off a crossing route that led Jackson into an open area of the Chicago zone.
With the Bucs still leading by just a field goal, the crucial blow came during the Bucs' third drive of the quarter. After McCown picked up a first down with his feet, two plays later he was unable to do the same. On second-and-8, the Bucs' veteran lined up in shotgun and dropped four steps before setting to throw. However, McCown stayed looking to his left (towards Evans) and as the pocket held up he decided to scramble out of it, not realizing he could have gone underneath to rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins or to his right where Jackson was sitting beyond the first down marker with good separation between him and the cornerback.
From the end zone shot, you can see the pocket McCown had to work with. He just never scanned the field.
By now we know what happened. McCown scrambles outside, gets chased down from behind by Bears' defensive end David Bass, and McCown gets the ball knocked out of his hands which is then recovered by Chicago. The Bears would then take the lead on their ensuing offensive drive.
The offensive line played poorly. As poor as they have all season. But on these throws and some others, McCown had at least four seconds to throw the football. He appeared to be too zoned in on one receiver (Mike Evans) and indecisive to throw which proved costly.
McCown single-handedly caused the third quarter collapse.
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