While there was a myriad of penalties and sloppy play throughout the game, the Bucs and Bears found themselves in a very entertaining game on Thursday night. Both teams went back-and-forth in trading the lead, but the Bucs couldn’t get far enough down the field to attempt a game winning field goal, falling to the Bears 20-19 and dropping to 3-2 on the season.

In a frustrating loss, these were the most impressive players from the game.

RB Ronald Jones
Jones ran hard all game while breaking multiple tackles from the Bears defense. There were at least two times where Jones absorbed a hit in the backfield, spun out, and managed to take it up the field for sizable gains. He continued his success on the ground in the second half, finding his way to the second and third level of the Bears’ defense for a 37-yard run early in the third. Jones was even able to haul in some passes as well. He made a nice reception down at the two-yard line that should have been a touchdown, but the Bucs did score on the next play. Jones was the best player on the Bucs offense in the game, rushing for 106 yards and 19 receiving yards on three receptions. It was the second straight game where Jones went over the century mark.

WR Tyler Johnson
For all the talk about some of the other rookies on this team, it was Johnson who had a breakout game. Johnson was the top target in the passing game, recording 61 yards on four receptions in the first half. His 35-yard reception that he took down to the 10 was the second longest play for the Bucs’ offense, and it set up their first touchdown of the game. Johnson didn’t have a reception in the second half, but it was promising sign for the rookie to have an impact in the game while leading the team in receiving yards.

TE Rob Gronkowski
Gronkowski made two very important catches on the Bucs’ last scoring drive of the game to put them up 19-17 at the time. The first came on a screen pass that he took up the field for 23 yards, and the other was an impressive catch in between defenders that made it a chip-shot for Ryan Succop. This was Gronkowski’s best receiving game as a Buc so he looked more comfortable in the passing game than he previously had. Gronkowski finished the game with three receptions for 52 yards.

DT Will Gholston
When the Bucs were putting the pressure on Nick Foles, most of the time it was Gholston that was leading the way. Gholston had a team-best three quarterback hits on the game and notched one sack late in the fourth quarter. It looked to be a clutch sack at the time pinning the Bears back, but a roughing the passer penalty on Shaq Barrett gave the Bears a second chance. Gholston continues to build on a successful year so far through five games. He had four tackles in total to go along with the sack.

DT Vita Vea
Vea notched a sack for the second game in a row and was causing a lot of issues for the Bears offensive line. Despite an abundance of flags thrown in the game by the refs, Vea did not get the benefit of any holding penalties when it looked like he was held often. Even so, Vea managed to get to the quarterback and also was a force stopping the run game and breaking up a screen to David Montomgery. Unfortunately Vea had to be carted off the field late in the fourth quarter and his season could be in jeopardy. He was playing well up to that point, recording four tackles, one sack and a tackle for loss.

CB Jamel Dean
While the Bucs’ secondary didn’t have the best outing, Dean came was coming up big in crunch time during the fourth quarter. He had a near pick-six to start the Bears’ second-to-last drive and finished the game with four pass breakups all in the fourth quarter. That number ties the NFL lead for most pass breakups in an entire game this season. Along with the four passes defended, Dean recorded three tackles.

Honorable Mention:
OLB Jason Pierre-Paul (4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FF)
TE Cam Brate (5 receptions, 44 yards)

 

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About the Author: Matt Matera

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BigSombrero
1 year ago

Great list. I would probably swap Gronk for Succop.

compewterpirate
1 year ago

Ronald Jones had an outstanding game and deservedly tops this list. Whoever’s fault it was for the loss and there is plenty of blame to go around, Ro Jo did everything possible, against a tough defensive front, to put us in a position to win. Tyler Johnson also deserves a shout out, a great start from the rookie and inexplicably was not thrown to in the second half.

Dman
1 year ago

Could feel RoJo on the verge of breaking one all night. Back to back 100 yard games. Nice.

fredster
1 year ago

Rojo looked great and ran hard. List looks about right. Gronk didn’t do much more than Brate?

BigSombrero
Reply to  fredster
1 year ago

100% agree. That’s why I think Succop deserves some credit. 4/4 fgs, 1/1 extra points.

Naplesfan
1 year ago

I think the single biggest factor that affected both offense and defense, and both teams, was the fact of this being a Thursday night game. Both lines on both teams looked tired, but especially on the side of the Bucs offensive line. The penalties were really a function of exhaustion, playing on only three days rest, which is simply not enough. The Bears’ D-line outperformed our O-line in the second half, and our D-line looked gassed by late in the first half when they gave up two touchdowns. It was just a very sloppy game, not helped by poor officiating,… Read more »

StPeteB
1 year ago

Reconsider Impressive. Jamel Dean was not…Pass Deflections?? Those were INTs that he dropped…time and time again…far from impressive

Selmon-63
1 year ago

The only bright spot in this game was RoJo. Looking forward to see what he can do the rest of this season!

Madman
1 year ago

Dean was in perfect position to get a pick on that one play. Looked like a 2 year old trying to catch a ball. He also couldn’t find the ball on the Graham TD. He had a couple decent PBUs but he was far from impressive imo.

Randy H.
Reply to  Madman
1 year ago

Just remember that usually a cornerback isn’t a receiver is because of their pass catching skills—-or lack thereof.

IDGABuc
Reply to  Madman
1 year ago

Idk which play you’re talking about as there were a cpl, but on one he was hit by the receiver at the last moment and it moved his fingers just enough that the tip of the ball hit them instead of it dropping in. Then again, if he’d reached out to literally intercept the ball instead of waiting on it he may have held on so.. Yeah, ok, I get it.

drdneast
1 year ago

Vea looked like he was dragging a guard who was desperately holding onto him like he was at sea grasping to a lifeboat on one play. We got completely hosed last night by and NFL who desperately want to see the Bears make the playoffs so the ratings are better. Chicago’s a big market.

Dman
Reply to  drdneast
1 year ago

Sure felt that way to me. Roger made the call at the half, throw the flags.

IDGABuc
Reply to  drdneast
1 year ago

Yeah, I don’t often blame officiating but that was absolute garbage. There were bad calls both ways, but the ones against us were just game changing and there were a LOT more of them. Pathetic.