Bears boat raced in Tampa

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Four Chicago Bears turnovers, three committed by QB Jay Cutler, led to 16 Tampa Bay points and the Bucs dominated the second half en route to an easy 36-10 win over the hapless Bears at sun splashed Raymond James Stadium Sunday afternoon. The Bears fell to 2-7 while Tampa Bay improved to 4-5.

Any feel good vibes left from the bye week and previous victory over Minnesota disappeared quickly as the Bears repeatedly shot themselves in the foot with offensive miscues. After a strong performance in his return to action against the Vikings, Cutler appeared anything but smooth with two early interceptions, both poor throws. The second turnover was returned, ironically, by former Bear Chris Conte 20-yards for a touchdown that got the Bucs on the board first. Cutler endured a long afternoon, as he was sacked four times, once for a safety, and lost a fumble. He completed just 16-0f-30 passes for 182 yards.

After K Connor Barth nailed a 54-yarder to cut the margin to 7-3, Chicago had an opportunity to take the lead after the Bears marched deep inside Tampa territory. However, another mistake, this time a Cutler fumble as he was hit and stripped rolling out, was recovered by the Bucs and Tampa never looked back.

The Bucs second-year trigger man, Jameis Winston, turned in his most efficient performance of the season. Winston consistently bought time to throw by side-stepping Bears defenders, allowing him to find receivers downfield. On the day, Winston completed 23-of-33 for 312 yards and two touchdowns. He often escaped Bears pressure with his strength and quick feet, leaving frustrated Chicago players grabbing for air.

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Meanwhile, Cutler and the Bears offense were stuck in quick sand, missing blocks, committing mental mistakes and failing to generate any consistent attack against one of the NFL’s worst defenses. Other than rookie

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RB Jordan Howard, who rushed for 1o0 yards on 15 carries, there was little to get excited about save for Cutler’s completed “Hail Marry” to Cameron Meredith for a 50-yard score as the first half concluded to cut the Tampa advantage to 17-10.

Momentum was short-lived though as the Bucs outscored the Bears 19-0 behind Winston’s passing and an inspired defensive performance that harassed Cutler and blanketed Chicago receivers.

Sure to face some harsh questions this week and with the prospects of a second-half turnaround appearing remote, the Bears head back on the road to face the New York Giants next Sunday.

Extra Points: After seemingly getting healthy, the injury bug hit the Bears hard again. G Kyle Long was lost in the first half with a ankle injury that required him to be fitted with an air cast and appears to be serious. Long’s offensive line mate, RT Bobby Massie, left and was placed in concussion protocol. DT Will Sutton was also forced to the sidelines with an ankle issue…The Bears collected four sacks of Winston, but could have had many more if not for Winston’s strong build and nifty footwork….S Harold Jones-Quartey picked off Winston in the first half….LB Danny Trevathan unofficially led the Bears in stops with 13 tackles.

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