As the visiting team, the Chicago Bears called the coin toss. They chose tails, which never fails, and ended up winning, then electing to receive.
The Buccaneers made quick work of getting the Bears offense off the field, forcing a three-and-out behind a monster sack by defensive tackle Vita Vea on second down. They'd surrender the ball back to Tampa Bay via a punt that was returned 43 yards by Bucs rookie Jaelon Darden.
It set the Bucs up at the Bears' 32-yard line. From there, all it would take is one defensive pass interference call and two runs by running back Leonard Fournette to get them the rest of the way into the end zone. It gave the Bucs a 7-0 lead with 11:28 left in the first quarter.
The Bears would get as far as midfield on their next drive, thanks to a 29-yard run by Khalil Herbert. They wouldn't get much further though as the Bucs' defense held and forced Chicago's second punt of the game.
This time, the Bucs traded a punt right back after a couple incompletions by quarterback Tom Brady and a screen that went nowhere to running back Giovani Bernard in the backfield. The Bears took over at their own 35-yard line with 8:10 to go in the quarter.
Third down and five on the next drive and the Bears' possession would end abruptly thanks to a ton of pressure on quarterback Justin Fields, who threw the ball off target and into the hands of Bucs cornerback Dee Delaney. The Bucs took over at the Chicago 40 to begin their bonus drive.
They'd capitalize on the short field again as Brady fired to Chris Godwin in the end zone for the score. It put the Bucs up 14-0 halfway through the first quarter.
View photos of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Week seven matchup against the Chicago Bears.
The Bears' next drive would be cut short yet again as outside linebacker Shaq Barrett stripped Fields in the process of recording yet another sack for the Buccaneer defense. The ball was recovered by nose tackle Vita Vea (the first recovered fumble of his career) and given back the Bucs' offense at the Chicago 35.
Just like the two times before, the Bucs would take advantage of the short field. This time, the drive ended with wide receiver Mike Evans in the end zone, giving the Bucs three touchdowns from three different players with a few seconds left in the first quarter. It was also Brady's 600th career touchdown pass. He's the first player in NFL history to reach that mark. It gave the Bucs a 21-0 lead headed into the second quarter.
The teams would trade punts before Chicago would get the ball back at their own 29 yard line with just under 12 minutes left in the second quarter. This drive would again be cut short by a strip sack of Fields, this one by Jason Pierre-Paul. The ball was initially picked up by Barrett, who didn't quite have control of it and coughed it up. It was inside linebacker Devin White that made the final fumble recovery, giving the Bucs' another possession from the Bears' 25.
The Bucs would have some trouble through the air on the next series and ended up settling for a 43-yard field goal try. The kick was no good and the score stayed 21-0 with 10:01 to play in the half.
The Bears would make their first trip inside the red zone on the next drive but would still be held out of the end zone thanks to the Bucs' defense. Cornerback Jamel Dean helped force a third-down incompletion in a goal-to-go situation for the Bears and they settled for a 28-yard field goal try. Former Buc Cairo Santos was good and it gave Chicago their first points of the game.
The Bucs didn't take those three points lightly as they marched right down the field thanks to a Brady bomb to Evans that got them 46 yards. It gave Tampa Bay first and goal and the very next play, Brady followed it up with another perfectly placed pass to Evans in the end zone. It made the score 28-3 with 3:35 left in the first half.
The Bears got as far as midfield again and went for it on fourth down and four yards to go but it was Pierre-Paul with his second sack of the game on Fields that stopped him at the line and forced Chicago to turn the ball over on downs inside the two-minute warning.
Tampa Bay would use the remainder of the time inching closer to the end zone. On a hard-fought fourth down conversion by Fournette, the Bucs would get a first and goal with just over 20 seconds to go in the half. On third down, Brady fired to a waiting Evans again, giving the Bucs' receiver a hat trick in the first half. It increased the Bucs' lead to 35-3 with nine seconds remaining and Tampa Bay due to get the ball back to begin the second half.
The Bears would hand it to Herbert before heading to the locker room down 35-3.
Behind a stand-up effort from the Bears' defense, the Bucs would be forced to punt their first drive of the second half away. Good coverage had the Bears starting from their own 20 and good defense had them in third and five quickly.
The Bears converted, extending their drive beyond the 35-yard line. They'd suffer yet another turnover fate as Fields' pass was tipped into the hands of safety Jordan Whitehead for his first interception of the year.
The Bucs would get all the way to the Bears' one-yard line before the Chicago defense would put up an admirable goal line stand – even after Tampa Bay went for it on fourth and one. The Bucs then turned it over on downs and the Bears attempted to get to work yet again.
This drive would end much like the last one for Chicago. Though Bucs cornerback Dee Delaney exited the game with an ankle injury, veteran corner Pierre Desir came in for him and promptly picked off Fields. It would lead to another short field for the Bucs, who would end up settling for a field goal try, despite getting as far as the one-yard line again.
The 22-yard field goal by Succop made the score 38-3 with 12:51 to play in the game.
Tampa Bay would impose their will again on the next drive, despite letting the Bears cross midfield. Behind a big second-down pressure by Devin White and a follow-up play by Vita Vea, the Bears would punt on fourth and 16.
When the Bucs' offense trotted out onto the field, Brady was not with them. His night concludes with just under eight minutes left in the game after completing 20 passes on 36 attempts for 211 yards and four touchdowns with a passer rating of 109.8. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert took over and got his first, first down of the night on a 15-yard completion to Godwin. Running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn was also placed in the game and got a majority of work on the drive.
The drive wouldn't result in any points as the Bucs ended up punting, giving the ball back to the Bears' offense with 2:27 left. The teams hit the two-minute warning with the Bears facing third and one at their own 23-yard line.
The Bears wouldn't score another point as they surrendered the ball yet again to the Buccaneers, who got in victory formation to end the game with a final score of 38-3.