Bears film study: Tampa mistake leads to timely turnover
The Bears had a nice win against Tampa Bay, using an equal dose of clutch plays and good fortune to pull it off. Here's a look at this week's game film:
Finally, a timely turnover
The Bears almost had a game-turning turnover against the Colts, but Khalil Mack dropped a deflected pass that landed right in his lap. They finally delivered late in the second quarter against the Bucs with Kyle Fuller's forced fumble.
Tampa Bay RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn ran a crossing pattern and was hit hard by Fuller, knocking the ball loose. Originally called an incomplete pass, the ruling was changed to fumble after review, and the Bears followed with another clutch play, Jimmy Graham's one-handed touchdown catch that gave them a 14-13 lead at halftime.
Looking at the fumble again, the Bucs definitely helped the Bears get this turnover. It was 3rd-and-10, but Tampa WR Scotty Miller ran a 5-yard pattern and stopped. He was being guarded by Fuller, who looked back at QB Tom Brady, saw the play develop and moved over to lay the lumber on Vaughn.
If Miller, the Barrington High School grad, had run to the sticks or headed toward the sideline, Fuller would have had to keep guarding him. Vaughn had a couple steps on Roquan Smith, so he might have even gotten the first down if Fuller wasn't there. It's unclear if this was a mistake or just poor play design by the Bucs.
Follow the plan
Head coach Matt Nagy complained about the Bears missing some minor details on offense, but the game plan seemed to be on point. Knowing Tampa Bay has been stingy against the run, Nick Foles threw a lot of 7- and 8-yard passes on first down. When the Bears needed a big play, they usually relied on a wheel route, a throw to a running back coming out of the backfield. A wheel to Cordarrelle Patterson set up the first touchdown. Then Foles made a nice read on a throw to Montgomery that set up the winning field goal.
Foles first had Montgomery motion into the backfield, then he could be seen talking to left tackle Charles Leno Jr. about protection and Allen Robinson about rubbing a defender off Montgomery's path. And credit Foles with a great throw under pressure, since Leno basically whiffed on LB Devin White.
The Buccaneers' first offensive play of the second half was a 37-yard gallop by Ronald Jones Jr. Why do the Bears keep giving up long runs? As mentioned before, it's usually the linebackers getting out of position and this play was no exception.
It started with the wrong call, since both Roquan Smith and safety Tashaun Gipson blitzed from the quarterback's left side and the run went right. LB Danny Trevathan moved too quickly to plug the hole and when the Bucs offensive line pushed the Bears to the right, he ended up behind Bilal Nichols and a quick chip block from the center kept Trevathan out of the play.
Meanwhile, right guard Alex Cappa held off Akiem Hicks just long enough and safety Eddie Jackson had a bad missed tackle 10 yards downfield. Credit Trevathan for chasing the play and making the tackle.
Positive sign of the week
Replacement left guard Alex Bars gave up a sack on one of his first snaps, but otherwise was solid while filling in for James Daniels in the second half. Bars is an undrafted second-year pro from Notre Dame, and Daniels may be out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle.
The Bears offensive line started off well this season, but struggled against stronger competition the past two weeks. Foles was sacked three times on Thursday. At least you can say the line played well enough to win.