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October 23, 2011 @ 6:57 pm
Current rating: 3.00 Stars/1 Votes

Bloody Mess! Bucs Lose To Bears, 24-18

Written by Eric
Eric Horchy


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The Buccaneers lost four starters, including running back Earnest Graham, to injury in Tampa Bay's 24-18 loss to Chicago in the NFL's International Game at London. Josh Freeman threw a season-high four interceptions in the loss, which drops the Bucs to 4-3 on the season.

Rather than a jolly good time in London, it was a bloody mess for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who suffered a slew of major injuries in addition to a 24-18 loss to Chicago.

Bucs starting running back Earnest Graham was lost for the game early in the first quarter when his right ankle stuck in the turf. It appears to be a serious injury. Rookie middle linebacker Mason Foster, who has been dealing with an ankle sprain, re-injured his ankle and was replaced by Adam Hayward for the final three quarters


In the second quarter, free safety Tanard Jackson, who picked off Jay Cutler in the first half, suffered a hamstring injury and did not return. In the second half, center Jeremy Zuttah, who was filling in for the injured Jeff Faine, suffered a knee injury when he took a helmet to his left knee and did not return.

Tampa Bay entered Sunday already with out starting RB LeGarrette Blount (knee) and DT Gerald McCoy (ankle).

The Buccaneers once again found themselves having to rely on a fourth-quarter comeback to get back into an NFL International Series game against Chicago, but an early 16-point deficit proved to big to overcome Sunday night in London’s Wembley Stadium.

After twice keeping the Bears out of the end zone from inside their own 10, the Bucs were down 24-18 and had one final opportunity to drive the field for an improbable come-from-behind win.

Quarterback Josh Freeman took over at the 1:50 left and quickly moved down to the Chicago 39 with completions of 15 and 18 yards to wide receivers Preston Parker and Mike Williams, respectively. Following two incompletions and facing third-and-10, though, Freeman and the Bucs’ comeback effort ended with an interception by Bears third-string CB D.J. Moore on a ball intended for Parker and thrown into double coverage.

The interception capped a mistake-riddled performance by Freeman, who finished 29-of-51 for 264 yards passing, two touchdowns and four INTs. Aside from playing from behind all day, the third-year quarterback was pressed into a larger role on Sunday when Graham left the game on the first play of Tampa Bay’s second offensive series. Graham, filling in for the second straight week for Blount, was hurt at the end of a 1-yard loss after receiving a swing pass from the backfield.

His injury left Tampa Bay with third-string Kregg Lumpkin as its only running back on the roster. Lumpkin ended the day with 15 yards on eight touches and Tampa Bay only attempted 11 rushes for 30 total yards.

Graham’s injury was just the beginning of an injury-plagued evening in London for Tampa Bay. In a matter of about two minutes following Graham’s injury, three Bucs players were slow to get up from the turf. Starting fullback Erik Lorig was shaken up on punt coverage, as was defensive tackle Brian Price on the Bears’ first play from scrimmage. Both eventually returned to the field, but the same could not be said for Jackson, Foster and Zuttah. All four, including Graham, left the game at some point and did not return, leaving the Tampa Bay coaching staff having to shuttle in multiple replacements.

Tampa Bay did itself no favors heading into the final game-winning effort just minutes earlier during the defense’s red-zone stands. Following the Bucs’ first third-down stop that came courtesy of cornerback Ronde Barber’s 6-yard sack of Bears QB Jay Cutler, cornerback Aqib Talib was whistled for a personal foul for sticking his hand in the facemask of wide receiver Roy Williams after the play. While the Bucs still limited Chicago to a 25-yard Robbie Gould field goal, the kick came after the two-minute warning instead of at the 3:36 mark.

Producing only 154 total yards of offense over the first the quarters of play, Tampa Bay put itself in position to possibly steal a victory by finally coming to life in the fourth. The comeback started when backup free safety Corey Lynch picked off Cutler and advanced to the Chicago 21 with 13:39 on the clock. The Bucs needed four plays to find the end zone, scoring on a 2-yard pass to tight end Kellen Winslow. Freeman failed to hook up with Williams on a two-point conversion but the Bucs now found themselves trailing 21-11 with plenty of time to play.

A Tampa Bay defense that was shredded on the ground for 177 yards responded on the Bears’ ensuing drive by stopping running backs Matt Forte (25 carries for 145 yards and a touchdown) and Marion Barber III (six carries for 39 yards and a touchdown) on three combined rush attempts. The Bucs then took advantage of more solid field position and drove 48 yards in six plays to further cut into Chicago’s lead with wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe’s 24-yard touchdown reception and 7:17 showing.

The emergence of Briscoe as one of Freeman’s favorite targets continued Sunday, getting 10 looks and catching six balls for 73 yards. Winslow was thrown to 12 times but only hauled in four of them for 25 yards. Freeman went to Williams 11 times and connected on six occasions for a team-high 75 yards receiving.

Tampa Bay’s inability to contain Forte and the Chicago running back was a persistent problem from the start on Sunday and helped allow the Bears to head into halftime up 14-5. The fourth-year back out of Tulane entered Sunday’s game leading the league in yards from scrimmage and surpassed the 100-yard mark before the end of the second quarter. Forte also added two catches for 38 yards on the day to finish with 183 of total production.

The Bears took an early 7-0 advantage with 8:42 remaining in the opening quarter when Forte got around the right edge and weaved through would-be Tampa Bay tacklers on his way to a 32-yard touchdown rush.

Tampa Bay cut that deficit to 7-2 about four minutes later on one of the few instances where it corralled Forte. With the Bears pinned on their own 2, linebacker Quincy Black and defensive tackle Frank Okam got through the line of scrimmage to force Forte outside while Barber and defensive end Adrian Clayborn wrapped him up for the safety.

Prior to the two-point play, the Bucs were in position to potentially tie the game but squandered an opportunity. Jackson recorded his second interception in as many games when he snatched a bobbled screen pass from Cutler to Marion Barber and returned it to the Chicago 12. Possession was given right back to the Bears, though, when Williams couldn’t cleanly catch Freeman’s pass in traffic at the goal line and safety Chris Conte came away with the interception. The play was Freeman’s first pick of the day.

Chicago increased its lead to 14-2 midway through the second quarter when Cutler (17 of 32 for 226 yards and a touchdown) found Roy Williams for a 25-yard score. Williams quickly shed CB E.J. Biggers’ jam attempt at the line and was wide open down the field. The Tampa Bay defense recorded four quarterback hits on Cutler, sacked him twice and forced two interceptions.

The Bucs missed out on another first-half touchdown opportunity right before the break by failing to fully capitalize on a their longest drive of the day. Freeman completed seven of eight passes during a series that began at the Tampa Bay 7 with 2:37 left, but the Bucs stalled out at the Chicago 16 and settled for Connor Barth’s 33-yard field goal.

The Bears took their largest advantage, 21-5, early in the third quarter after forcing Tampa Bay into a three-and-out on the half’s opening drive. Chicago started at its own 45 and went 55 yards in seven plays when its offensive line sealed off the right side and Marion Barber sprinted across the goal line from 12 yards out. The touchdown represented the only scoring in the period before Tampa Bay mounted its ultimately unsuccessful comeback attempt.

With the London loss, Tampa Bay’s overall record drops to 4-3. The Bucs are now 1-2 against opponents from the NFC North, having lost to Detroit and defeated Minnesota. Tampa Bay heads into its Week 8 bye with extra time to regroup, heal its now-battered roster and prepare for an NFC South rematch with the Saints in New Orleans in 14 days.

Sunday’s game was played in front of 76,981 fans and under clear skies on a 62-degree London evening.

Starting on defense for Tampa Bay was: LE Michael Bennett, DT Roy Miller, DT Brian Price, RE Adrian Clayborn, WLB Geno Hayes, MLB Mason Foster, SLB Quincy Black, LCB Aqib Talib, RCB Ronde Barber, SS Sean Jones, FS Tanard Jackson.

The Bucs lined up offensively with: WR Mike Williams, LT Donald Penn, LG Ted Larsen, C Jeremy Zuttah, RG Davin Joseph, RT Jeremy Trueblood, TE Kellen Winslow, WR Arrelious Benn, RB Earnest Graham, FB Erik Lorig and QB Josh Freeman.

Seven Buccaneers were listed as inactive. They were RB LeGarrette Blount, DT Gerald McCoy, WR Sammie Stroughter, CB Myron Lewis, TE Zach Pianalto, C Jeff Faine and OT James Lee.

Last modified on Sunday, 23 October 2011 20:15

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  • avatar

    horrible tackling as well. The Bucs used to pride themselves on solid, fundamental tackling. Now they try to arm tackle and it's like throwing wet noodles on players. They were in the backfield often, but can't tackle successfully. Get back to coaching fundamentals! It's also sad that to see a televised home game they have to go to London.
  • avatar

    I have seen the same thing in multiple games, with the DE's not holding outside contain and the OLB's getting blocked out of the play. We had to stop the run, we didn't. we lost, not a surprise. The DE play I can maybe write of as inexperience to a degree, but the LB's not shedding blocks is the real problem. I don't know how that can be fixed. Every team will see the tape and every team will do the same thing to us until we stop it. I do blame the Glazers, we did need FA LB's and RB's and they were cheap. Dominick talking about a game over there every year is just mimicking the company line he's been fed by the Glazers who are all in favor of taking all of the receipts from a packed stadium in London vs. 45,000 in a non-sell-out home game. To those of you who hate this, I am sorry because it is a done deal. They would not even talk about it unless it had been discussed fully with the league and accepted verbally. They just need to formalize it with pen and paper, but it is done already.
  • avatar

    Freeman is having an off year...no doubt about it. Try to remember....he is only 23. The problem with this team is consistancy. We are good enough to beat most teams...WHEN we field the team that is going to play the entire game. All in all, this is a terrific time for the bye week. We need to regroup.
  • avatar

    It all comes down to coaching. Ask yourself, why the the Bucs are almost always playing from behind? Poor game prep and terrible game planning.. Olsen is not the answer at offensive cooridantor, nor does Morris seem to do well at game plans.. Changes need to be made to get out of this rut!!
  • avatar

    You guys are the epitome of "fickle". I still say Scott should change the name to the "Pouter Report" after any loss. I wonder if Saints fans wanted to jettison Brees after his three INT performance last week. You all remember that game right? Testaverde, now he was an interception machine. Ahhhh, those were the days.
  • avatar

    SINCE EVERYONE ELSE HAS, I WILL GO ON MY LITTLE RANT... Our Dline is terrible besides Clayborn, period. Our LBs are all very soft and don't look like they have any passion for the game, its sickening. Adam Hayward was the only guy that looked like he wanted to win. Our DBs arent bad besides Talib. He is just a sorry thug and always will be. AS FOR THE OFFENSE.. Freeman looks like a rookie all over again. He forces stupid throws and doesn't put any velocity on the ball. Our O-line is on and off from one week to the next. Same with the receivers. And I completely blame the front office for not getting more RB help. LUMPKIN SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • avatar

    Went to the stadium to watch the Buc's on a open house in the west club section. Was a FANTASTIC spread, free beer, free food, burgers,dogs,pizza, fries, everything was on the Buc's.While everyone was having a great time prior to the game, once the game started it was a different story.It was clear that Freeman could not hit the broad side of a barn! It was clear to me that we might think of a trade in the 2012 draft.We could get in the A.LUCK sweepstakes by trading Freeman,Biggers,Talib,Trueblood, Faine and we will throw in Morris and Olsen and a few others for good measure! Being a Buc fan for 25 yrs. + and going to the games for 20 yrs. without missing a game it's about time this franchise started to put a team on the field that we can be proud of. I'm sorry, I guess I'm just venting after a piss POOR performance!
  • avatar

    We are who we are and that is an under-prepared young team. No one can fault one person for the way we continue to lose games. I do not believe that losing is all bad but the manner is the maddening point. I have been yelling scheme for weeks. **1. The Bucs shotgun sets are terrible because if I were defending them I know their WR's don't run the whole tree because they lack speed and they're young meaning they don't really know what they are seeing. They think they do. **2. The Bucs LB's are too quick to arm tackle instead of running through the ball carriers. The team wreaks of complacency because they don't play hard until they are down. Coaching-youth **3. Personnel decisions at RB, LB, and CB is killing us. Dominik ego is killing us like Freeman's confidence in his arm on late reads. They should have known better than to roll the dice with a RB corps with no explosion or depth. This league is violent and even the biggest baddest RB's get hurt. **4. Put a leash on that average player at CB. It's time for Raheem to make an example of this clown who cost Tampa precious time with his hot-head. No Raheem he is not a great player and not even proficient at his position much like many DB's we have (Lewis, Mack). **5. Scheme Scheme Scheme. Bucs already lack play-makers. Why not use more creative plays not when your down big when the safeties no you have to throw deep. Olsen is so non-impressive and the costs of breaking continuity with Freeman may have to be broken because watching the Bucs offense and other teams is like watching a washed up boxer in the ring. Overall, Raheem is a OK coach and I believe he is learning on the fly on some things but one thing is true and Daryl "the Moose" said it best. The Bucs need more discipline and youth is no excuse. This team leads the league in penalties. I don't know another damning stat outside or turnover ratio. Need a bye for sure. Beating the Saints will not impress me but being consistent will and they aren't there yet. Just gotta be patient...
  • avatar

    I know people are going to kill Freeman and justifiably so, but our WR's just can't get open. Instead of a 1,2,3,and 4 reciever, it's like we have 4 3's....If Williams doesn't drop that pass at the goal line, it's a different game. And it would be nice if the OL could go one game without 3 or 4 stupid penalties. On defense, it is fairly obvious if the DL doesn't play great, we won't stop the run. Our LB's are awful (Quincy Black played OK today). We missed Tanard no doubt, and I wish Gerald had played today. Biggers has been a little disappointing, but TALIB has been killing us. It is like he gets bored out there, but he is not good enough for that....You aren't Deion, you don't get to make these mistakes....Just a bad effort by us...Silver lining-We are still 4-3...it's not terrible.....
  • avatar

    I swear every time I buy a jersey because the guy had a great yr the following yr they suck Caddy, Clayton, Adams, huh Freeman? I don't like what I'm seeing from Josh he is locking on to receivers when he throws and then he lobs passes over the middle the one to Urlacher was just disgusting. This guy needs to work on his mechanics and decision making and stop listening to his hype. To many injuries to over come today, I thought Barber played his *censored* off, the sack was ridiculous, and god damn Talib tries to play street thug again and cost his team another set of 4 downs for the offense I swear I think he needs to be benched a game to send a message this kid can't control himself and believe me he will have another run in with the law. You can blame Olson alll you want but did anyone notice how bad the play calling of Martz was today they are down there on our 3 yd line and they throw three consecutive times especially since Forte looked like "sweetness" today. We were lucky to even be in this game, we really need a playmaker at wide receiver to help this offense Joey Galloway where are you-lol
  • avatar

    Thank you Macabee, great learning for me, and you explained it very well.
  • avatar

    False Start vs. Off-sides vs. Encroachment vs. Neutral Zone Infraction vs. Illegal Formation Behold the subtle nuances of football rules and penalties. All four are pretty much the same thing…. but they aren’t. Charlespoupot, For you my friend - For all intents and purposes, Offsides is the defensive version of a false start. Offenses can be called for an offsides violation but its rare and complicated…..of course. •Off-sides (defensive) 5 yards, repeat the down •Encroachment (defensive) 5 yard penalty. Same as off-sides but the defensive player has contact with the offensive player before the start. •Neutral Zone Infraction (defensive) 5 yard penalty •If a defensive player moves off-sides and causes the offense to false start, it’s a Neutral Zone Infraction. •Illegal Formation: (offense) There must be exactly seven players lined up on the offensive line of scrimmage for at least one count before the ball is snapped. If not, then it is an illegal formation.
  • avatar

    Actually, a neutral zone infraction is when a defensive player lines up in the neutral zone. He doesn't have to cause the offense to jump offside.
  • avatar

    That's really too bad because, the defense play well enough to keep us in the game. Very impressed with the 6 consecutives stop at the end of the 4th quarter. Clayborne is a beast (remember he's a rookie ...) T Jax is as impressive as anyone : 2 ints in 2 games after missing an entire year !!! C'mon man !!! Agree with those who think Black is wayyyyyyyy overrated ... If the offense has played only average, we would have won this game hands down ... too bad ...
  • avatar

    Well Dummynick, think we need more depth at RB now? I can't think of any poster who did not predict this may happen in the offseason. And lets all not forget to thank trigger finger for that stupid move after that great goal line stop. How much more time did that take off the clock? Rule number 1 for MR. Pickoff. As soon as you get to the other teams redzone, please throw it to them. PR was on the mark. He will have more picks than touchdowns this year at this rate.
  • avatar

    It all goes back to Olson and his inability to get something going in this offense. For some reason the coordinators on the offense can't seem to spark any excitement into the offense until the second half, and that will not work on a week to week basis. It seemed like every drive was the same..run, short pass, short pass, punt..I mean at some point you have to open up the passing lanes and utilize the players/talent that is on the field. Freeman also needs to pick his game up. Costly redzone interceptions occur almost on a weekly basis now, and his decision making ability seems to come and go throughout the game in spurts. This team is only going to go as far as their coaches will take them, they have the talent to make a run, but the coordinators, Olson mostly, needs to do a better job of getting this offense fired up in the first half, because at this rate all im going to do is turn the second half on each week now because I cant stand to see his playcalling early
  • avatar

    This loss is on Freeman and Greg Olson. Free is playing like crap and Olson is running Gruden's offense. And Mike Williams is starting to look like Mike Clayton without the blocking skills. Catch the ball! Clayborne needs to keep the RB from getting outside - that's a DE's job. He's rushing inside and the LB has no chance to get to the corner fast enough. And Quincy Black should be benched. He got the $$$ and had made exactly one play this season, the pick vs. Saints. same with Talib. The penalty at the end was inexcusable. Cost us a minute 30 down the stretch. Ultimately though, this is on Free and Olson. The bye week came at the right time. Let's heal up, get our heads back in the game and come back and beat the Saints!
  • avatar

    @Dman- agree completely
  • avatar

    The big run came off of Bennett. He should have never moved to the inside with two blockers lined up outside of him. How much of a clue does he need that he has to contain?? That's why he's a liability at times. He is a beast but he also has a tendency to try and make a play on his own instead of staying on assignment.
  • avatar

    By the way, can someone explain to me the difference between : Encroachment, neutral zone infraction and offside ? It seems to be the same thing, always with the defensive line ... ??? Thank you !
  • avatar

    Ugly, ugly, ugly ... I have too many questions in my mind, it drives me crazy : Why is this team second in the league in penalties (ask the coaches) ? Why does this team always have slow starts (ask the coaches) ? Why didn't we throw the damn ball to Benn (ask Olson) ? Why do we keep Lumpkin if we do not trust him to carry the load (ask Olson) ? Why does Mike Williams seem to wake up from his bed at the beginning of the game (ask the coaches) ? Why don't we use more Dezmon Briscoe (ask Olson) ? Why are we not able to throw passes that fly in the air more than 5 yards (ask Olson) ? Why are we throwing a check pass of 5 yards when we need 20 or more yards (ask Olson) ? Freeman has a horrible game for sure but first interception wasn't on him. The ball was right on the chest of Mike Williams but he couldn't catch it ... then, interception. GO bucs, Get BETTER, WORK hard this two comming weeks ...
  • avatar

    Bloody Hell! Today the Bears were the "bangers" and we were the "mash". And so much for the second coming of EG. It looked like we were too hesitant to continue the game plan to run with Lumpkin. I expected a much better showing from our young QB; but losing the running game and two starters on the O-line during the game is a tough blow. Hard to win throwing 51 times and being behind the whole game. It seems he is forcing to Winslow but the pick at the goal line was a fumble by Williams in my opinion. The defense sure seems to miss Gerald McCoy's disruption. Not sure why Trueblood had such a tough day with penalties. Perhaps he should take a lesson from the palace guards who never flinch. Not sure why we didn't see a little more DaQuan Bowers today. Hurt? Cheerio!
  • avatar

    Most of Chic's runs were aimed at Hayes.
  • avatar

    the injuries should be enough, that the Glazers hopefully will never want to play in London again. the turf looked so high, you could have cattle grazing.
  • avatar

    I want my old Josh Freeman back...the guy playing now has to be an imposter! While we're at it, can we have a new offensive coordinator...no roll-outs or QB runs to offset the blitz...and can we stop throwing check-downs on 3rd down for 2 yards short of the 1st down? Oh well, 4 & 3...gotta pull for an upset of N. O. by Indy tonight so the Bucs can still be tied for 1st. As I've posted twice previously, shoulda picked up Royster after the pre-season game with Wash., can we still get him?
  • avatar

    Somebody must be kidding. The defense was completely inept for 3.5 qutrs. The franchise threw 4 more intercepts and I believe 8 for the season. Freeman has to learn how to play for 4 qtrs. If this is the franchise the Bucs will be only a mediocre team in future years.
  • avatar

    It's easy to start getting on the guys that played poorly today...and I will. But I would be remiss if I didn't acknowlege what a great job this defense did when it counted. From causing the safety early in the game to stoping the Bears at the goal line in the 4th quarter, the defense played well. M. Bennett and Clayborn played particularly well. But oh what a horrible, horrible, horrible performance by Freeman! All of a sudden this year Freeman doesn't seem to be able to read the zone. M. Williams and A. Benn deserve some of the blame, but this team is going nowhere until Freeman gets his $#!t together. Luckily he has two weeks to do just that.
  • avatar

    They've got the bye week to come up with a solution. Its being reported on PFT that EG has a torn Achilles. Larson at Center and Hardman at Guard wasn't too bad overall (though they smoked us on the A-gap twist several times). I think we need a RB solution quick, as Lumpy wasn't getting it done and at least a genuine threat is needed to setup play action, which is absolutely essential to Buc ball at this point. Go Bucs!!!!
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