Photos from Buccaneers vs. Bears at Raymond James Stadium.
Game Ball:** RB Charles Sims proved to be a big-playmaker in both the air and ground games, scoring on a 50-yard pass in the third quarter and setting up a field goal opportunity in the fourth period with a 29-yard run. Sims ended the night with 117 yards from scrimmage, his second-highest total of the year, and in the process surpassed 1,000 combined rushing and receiving yards on the season. Sims missed half of his rookie season on short-term injured reserve and was slowly worked back into the mix in the second half. This year, he has proved to be the type of two-way threat the Bucs believed him to be when they drafted him in the third round in 2014.
Play of the Game: For the Buccaneers, it was Jameis Winston's scrambling, improvised 50-yard touchdown pass to Sims to cap the first drive of the second half. Winston rolled out of the pocket to his left as the play developed and motioned for Sims to turn upfield. His pass reached Sims just before a Chicago defender could pick it off, and the Buccaneer back was able to spin away from that would-be tackler and beat the rest of the defense to the end zone. The most important play of the game, however, was probably the one described below.
Turning Point:** As far as the outcome of the game, the most significant moment was probably the interception by Chicago S Harold Jones-Quartey at the Bears' one-yard line on the Bucs' very next drive. After taking a one-point lead on the Sims score, Tampa Bay was threatening to take control with another score. Instead, LB Christian Jones found a free lane to Winston on a blitz, forcing a desperation heave that Jones just ripped away from Sims. Chicago would score on the first play of the fourth quarter to take the lead, and never give it up.
It Was Over When: Connor Barth's 52-yard field goal try missed a bit to the left with six and a half minutes to play. Down by nine, the Buccaneers had driven quickly into scoring territory and looked likely to get one of the two scores they needed to get back in front. However, a third-and-10 snap rolled back to Winston, who was able to pick it up but not with enough time to get off a throw before he was engulfed by Bears defenders. The play lost 10 yards, making it a lower-percentage field goal try, and after Barth's miss Chicago was able to burn off all but one remaining minute on the clock.