Fri, 29 Sep 2023

Baker Mayfield, Bucs keep Bears at bay

Field Level Media
18 Sep 2023, 06:25 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports)

Baker Mayfield was 26-of-34 passing for 317 yards and a touchdown and Mike Evans had six receptions for 171 yards and a score to lift the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 27-17 win against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

Tampa Bay (2-0) outgained Chicago 437-236 behind a balanced attack that included 34 passing plays and 34 rushing plays.

Chicago fell to 0-2 while losing its 12th consecutive game dating to last season.

The Bucs sacked Bears quarterback Justin Fields six times while limiting him to 211 yards on 16-of-29 passing. Fields had one touchdown and two interceptions while fumbling twice. Joe Tryon-Shoyinka had two sacks for Tampa Bay.

Chicago drew within 20-17 on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Fields to Chase Claypool with 6:17 remaining. The Bears forced a punt on the next Bucs' possession but Tampa Bay put the game away when Shaquil Barrett intercepted Fields' screen pass from the end zone and returned it for a four-yard touchdown.

Tampa Bay capped the first possession of the game with a Chase McLaughlin 26-yard field goal. The Bears responded quickly and emphatically, covering 75 yards in six plays and 2:46 for a go-ahead touchdown.

Fields scored on a one-yard run after establishing an early connection with D.J. Moore, who had two receptions for 64 yards on the opening drives. His 31-yard catch and run on third down put the Bears inside the Bucs' 10-yard line.

Chicago's Rasheem Green blocked McLaughlin's 40-yard field goal attempt, which set the Bears up at midfield with 14:49 to play in the second quarter. They couldn't sustain the special teams' momentum on offense, however, as the Bucs forced Chicago into a three-and-out.

The Bucs went ahead on the next possession, punctuating a four-play, 77-yard touchdown drive with Rachaad White's four-yard scoring run with 10:53 left in the second quarter.

The teams traded field goals before the end of the half, as Tampa Bay took a 13-10 lead into intermission.

The Bucs' White led all rushers with 73 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.

Chicago defensive backs Eddie Jackson (foot) and Jaquan Brisker (illness) left the game in the first half, with Brisker returning after halftime. The Bears already were without Josh Blackwell (hamstring).

--Field Level Media

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