Matt Forte gained 78 yards in the first quarter alone, and averaged 11.1 yards to get the club off to a lightning-fast start. The Bears also took advantage of strong contributions from backup running back Marion Barber, who ran for 39 yards and a touchdown on six carries. The duo combined for 184 yards on the ground.
Quarterback Jay Cutler performed somewhat efficiently. That's all the game called for since Chicago got the running game popping. The protection remains a work in progress, but the Bears allowed just two sacks because Cutler used his mobility to avoid some of them. Cutler seems to be reverting back to some bad habits (like throwing off his back foot), and that's cause for concern. He tossed two interceptions to run his season total to six.
Chicago started off a little slow. Bucs running back Earnest Graham gained decent yardage on his first couple of runs (6.5-yard average). But Graham left with an injury after his second attempt, and backup Kregg Lumpkin couldn't get the job done. Despite playing with an injured knee, defensive end Julius Peppers was stout against the run, as was defensive tackle Anthony Adams.The Bucs rushed for just 30 yards.
Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher each picked off passes, as did safety Chris Conte. Chicago's stingy run defense allowed the Bears to rush the QB with the front four while the secondary sat in coverage. At the start of the fourth quarter, Josh Freeman's passer rating was 45.6. But Freeman found Dezmon Briscoe for a TD with 7:17 left to put the Buccaneers back in contention. Luckily D.J. Moore saved the day with a late interception.
The coverage units held their own against a dangerous Tampa Bay special-teams unit, but kicker Robbie Gould missed his first field-goal attempt (a 41-yard try) of the year after making each of his first 13. Adam Podlesh boomed two punts inside the Tampa 20. Return man Devin Hester drew excitement from the London crowd with a couple promising starts, but he wasn't able to break free.
Matt Forte gained 78 yards in the first quarter. Yet predictably, offensive coordinator Mike Martz again seemed to abandon the rushing attack. So Martz's play calls knock down this grade some, and played at least a small role in helping Tampa Bay in its attempt to mount a comeback. Defensively, the Bears put on a good game plan for rattling Freeman, and stuffing the rushing attack.
EXPERTS' PREDICTIONS FOR WEEK 7
- DeFalco (4-2)
- J.D. (5-1)
- Jon (4-2)
- Isaacson (4-2)
- Jurkovic (3-3)
- Silvy (5-1)
- Spain (5-1)
- Harry (5-1)
- Waddle (4-2)
- Wilbon (5-1)
- Woj (5-1)
- Wright (3-3)