Hey! It’s a win.
Bucs 36 – Bears 10
So far, the Bucs are holding their own against teams that are already wondering about their positions in next year’s draft. I can’t get too excited by that, but a win at this stage of the season is a win, by golly, and I’ll take that all day.
After losing the previous two games, Tampa finally served up a home win to long-suffering fans, taking the Bears to school for most of the afternoon at fashionable Raymond James Stadium. The pirate ship cannons got lots of use today, as Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston completed 23 of 33 passes for 300+ yards and two touchdowns. Workhorse running back Doug Martin, returning to the lineup after being out with a hamstring injury since the second week, added a 1-yard dash to pay dirt.
The Bucs defense started things off early, intercepting Bears QB Jay Cutler late in the 1st quarter and returning it for a TD. Indeed, the Tampa defense harassed Cutler and the Chicago offense all afternoon, recording two interceptions, two fumbles, and four sacks. Most of those turnovers led to Bucs points, and the defense even logged a safety late in the first half, because why not?
Winston’s highlight reel got a couple of sweet additions today, including an incredible 38-yard pass completion that sounds way more boring than it actually was, with him scrambling like a fiend and nearly giving up a safety of his own while dodging pretty much everybody in a Bears uniform before throwing a bullet to receiver Mike Evans. Now set up in Bears territory and following a delay-of-game penalty of the sort that can drive a head coach insane, Winston was on point with receiver Freddie Martino, completing a 43-yard strike to start the second half on the right foot, which eventually led to Tampa scoring 26 unanswered points to finish out the day.
The win improves the struggling Bucs to 4-5, but the good news is that everybody else in the NFC South lost. Translation? The division is knotting up (as it is wont to do), and things may very well get crazy in the weeks to come, because at this point the division title is still up for grabs.
Next up? The Bucs travel here to my adopted home town, Kansas City, to take on the Chiefs, who at 7-2 are sitting atop the AFC West. I don’t know what to tell you, fans of the Raiders, Broncos, or Chargers. Cross your fingers.
Bucs life, amirite?