The Buccaneers forced the Bears’ defense to play with its back against the wall for nearly the entirety of Sunday’s game while Chicago’s offense could only muster three points in an embarrassing 38-3 loss on the road.
The Buccaneers started six offensive possessions with a short field in Bears territory and scored 31 of their 38 points on those drives. On offense, 9-of-13 Bears’ offensive possessions ended in either a punt or a turnover.
Few Bears players stood out in this game. However, here are the studs and duds from Sunday’s brutal loss to Tampa Bay.
STUD: RB Khalil Herbert
AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio
The rookie running back has now tallied his first career 100-yard rushing game. He finished with 100 yards on 18 carries. Herbert was the lone bright spot on this offense, breaking a 29-yard run early in the first quarter to get the Bears into Tampa Bay territory.
He also showed his skill as a receiver, taking a short pass 20 yards in the third quarter on a drive ended by a Justin Fields interception. Herbert finished with five catches for 33 yards.
DUD: RT Lachavious Simmons
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Calling out Simmons feels a bit unfair. He’s a 7th round draft pick from 2020 who the Bears called up from the practice squad to replace Elijah Wilkinson at the last minute after he landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Nevertheless, he was the starter until the second quarter, when he was benched after he was unable to stand up to the Bucs pass rush. It’s unfair to place all of the blame for Justin Fields’ two fumbles and interceptions on Simmons, but he can take responsibility for some of it.
STUD: K Cairos Santos
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The Bears only scored three points. They came from the leg of Cairos Santos, who drilled his only attempt, a 28 yarder. Santos has made 100% of his kicks this year. He’s 7-for-7 on field goals and 11-for-11 on extra points. Santos has now made 35 consecutive field goals dating back to last season, which is the longest active streak in the NFL.
DUD: QB Justin Fields
AP Photo/Jason Behnken
If we’re blaming Simmons for two of the Fields’ turnovers, there are still three more for Fields to take responsibility for (two interceptions and a fumble). So for the people counting at home, that’s six turnovers for the rookie quarterback against Tampa Bay.
Add four sacks to his five turnovers, and Justin Fields needs an ice bath and a short memory. There will be better days for the rookie, but this performance was all-time dud-worthy.
DUD: DT Bilal Nichols
AP Photo/David Berding
There seems to be no explanation for why Bilal Nichols threw a punch at Bucs center Ryan Jensen down 35-3 with two minutes left in the third quarter. Luckily for Nichols, the Bears’ defense stopped Tampa at the 1-yard line as Alec Ogletree forced the Ronald Jones’ fumble, and DeAndre Houston-Carson recovered it.
The frustration of losing must have gotten the better of Nichols. The punch was out of character for a young player emerging as a contributor on the Bears defensive line. Nichols is the third player in the last calendar year to be ejected for throwing a punch, joining the ranks of former Bears wideouts Anthony Miller and Javon Wims.
DUD: HC Matt Nagy
AP Photo/Jason Behnken
This loss might just be the one that cements Matt Nagy’s future in Chicago. Whether it’s tomorrow morning or Black Monday, Nagy isn’t expected to remain with the Bears following what’s been a disastrous three years following a magical 2018 season that was a fluke that fooled us all.
While you could argue the Bears didn’t stand a chance in this game, it was clear they didn’t believe they did either. Nagy did not have his team ready to play, and it was clear in an embarrassing loss in front of most of the country. Look no further than Bilal Nichols getting ejected for throwing a punch in the second half, which marks the third player who’s been ejected in the calendar year under Nagy.