1) Another Great Start
For the second straight week, the Bucs hit the road and outplayed their opponent on both sides of the ball, especially in the first quarter. From the constant harassment of Jay Cutler (including the eventual strip-sack from Gerald McCoy and recovery by Clinton McDonald), to the offense moving the ball and getting points, the Bucs were clearly ready to go again this week. Tampa Bay took the Soldier Field crowd out of the game, as hoped, and Josh McCown found Mike Evans for an early second quarter TD before the offense to together a quick, long drive for a late field goal, taking a 10-0 lead. This is exactly what Head Coach Lovie Smith had been preaching.
2) Unfortunately, A Bad Third Quarter
Another thing Smith has been preaching is "Takeaways." But on Sunday, it was the Bears defense with two critical ones that swung the momentum into their favor and gave them an 11-point lead. McCown had the ball poked away by the Chicago pass rush and they recovered. After a quick Matt Forte TD run, McCown threw off the hands of RB Charles Sims, leading to another turnover and another quick score. While the Bus still had chances later in the game, it was that sequence of turnovers that gave Chicago the life, momentum and double-digit lead they needed to win the game.
3) Finally, Bucs Receivers Made Big Plays
Mike Evans continued his TD streak, scoring in his fourth consecutive game and other Bucs receivers came up big as well. Vincent Jackson had three receptions of 24 yards including a tremendous 40-yard catch on third down late in the game to help set up a field goal. Jackson would finish with 113 receiving yards. Louis Murphy also hauled in several big catches and finished with 113 on the day himself. All told, the trio had 14 receptions, 277 yards and a staggering 19.8 yards per catch. That's definitely something to build upon coming back home to face the Bengals this week.