Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields threw three interceptions and committed five turnovers in a disastrous 38-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
A year after the Bears upset the Bucs when Tom Brady lost track of downs on the final drive, the Bears were the ones who left the rematch against the defending Super Bowl champions embarrassed.
The Bucs jumped to a 21-0 first-quarter lead and were up 35-3 by halftime. Brady threw four touchdown passes in the first half — including three to wide receiver Mike Evans — and the Bucs’ official Twitter account tweeted the infamous photo of Brady holding up four fingers in the 2020 game in jest.
The Bears placed right tackle Elijah Wilkinson on the reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday afternoon — the fifth player to go on the list in 11 days — and started Lachavious Simmons in his place.
Simmons was badly overmatched by the Bucs pressure, contributing to the interception Fields threw to Dee Delaney and the fumbles forced by Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul. The Bears benched Simmons for Alex Bars by the middle of the second quarter.
Jordan Whitehead and Pierre Desir had second-half interceptions.
The Bucs made the Bears pay for the short fields they were given. Brady completed 20 of 36 passes for 211 yards and the four touchdowns, one of which was his 600th career touchdown pass. He didn’t throw an interception and wasn’t sacked. The Bucs pulled him from the game with just under eight minutes to go.
Meanwhile, Fields completed 22 of 32 passes for 184 yards with no touchdowns and the three interceptions. He was sacked four times.
Cairo Santos’ 28-yard field goal — his 35th straight made field goal — provided the only Bears points.
Bears defensive lineman Bilal Nichols was ejected from the game in the second half for throwing a punch at center Ryan Jensen.
Here’s how the Week 7 game unfolded.
Inside linebacker Caleb Johnson, who was recovering from a knee injury, went on the COVID-19 list Sunday morning, the fourth player to go on the list in 11 days.
A couple of hours later, the Bears placed starting right tackle Elijah Wilkinson on the COVID-19 list and activated Arlington Hambright from the practice squad.
Wilkinson was starting in place of Germain Ifedi, who went on injured reserve with a knee injury Oct. 13. The Bears have Lachavious Simmons and Alex Bars as potential replacements for Wilkinson.
This is the second time since August that Wilkinson went on the COVID-19 list. He was one of four players to go on the list when Eddie Goldman tested positive at the beginning of training camp.
Unvaccinated players who test positive must stay out at least 10 days. They can also be ruled as close contacts of players who test positive and then must sit out five days.
One bit of good news for the Bears offense came Saturday, however. Running back Damien Williams was activated from the COVID-19 list. It’s unclear how much he will be ready to play after 10 days away from the team, but he could provide help to Justin Fields and Khalil Herbert as they battle one of the best run defenses in the NFL.
Tight end Jimmy Graham also remained on the COVID-19 list.
Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack and wide receiver Allen Robinson both will play after they originally were listed as questionable because of injuries.
Mack’s foot injury and Robinson’s ankle injury have limited them in practice, but they will play through them against the Bucs. Defensive lineman Bilal Nichols, nickel cornerback Duke Shelley, tight end J.P. Holtz and wide receiver Jakeem Grant also are active after they were listed as questionable on Friday.
The Bears previously announced that safety Tashaun Gipson and defensive lineman Akiem Hicks would be out because of injuries. Quarterback Nick Foles and wide receiver Breshad Perriman also are inactive.
1st quarter: Bucs jump out quickly to a 7-0 lead
Leonard Fournette’s 2-yard touchdown run gave the Bucs a 7-0 lead against the Bears with 11:58 to play in the first quarter.
The Bucs started the drive at the Bears’ 32-yard line after Jaelon Darden returned a punt 43 yards.
After Bears cornerback Kindle Vildor committed a pass interference penalty that gave the Bucs another 15 yards, Fournette broke for a 15-yard gain and then the 2-yard score.
The Bears went three-and-out on their first drive, during which Justin Fields was sacked for a loss of 7 yards and fumbled, though running back Khalil Herbert recovered the fumble.
1st quarter: Bucs up 14-0 after a Justin Fields INT
Tom Brady’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin gave the Bucs a 14-0 lead against the Bears with 4:37 to play in the first quarter.
The Bucs’ scoring drive was 40 yards after cornerback Dee Delaney intercepted Bears quarterback Justin Fields and returned it 26 yards.
Brady and Godwin also connected on passes of 6 and 21 yards to spark the drive.
On the previous Bears drive, Fields was under pressure on third down and threw a pass well out of reach of Allen Robinson just before he was hit. Delaney stepped in easily to make the pick.
1st quarter: Tom Brady throws his 600th TD pass
The Bucs capitalized on Bears quarterback Justin Fields’ second straight turnover to take a 21-0 lead against the Bears with 6 seconds to play in the first quarter.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady hit Mike Evans with a 9-yard touchdown pass to cap a five-play, 35-yard drive.
It was Brady’s 600th career touchdown pass.
Just two minutes earlier, Bucs outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett knocked the ball from Fields’ hand on third-and-5, and Vita Vea recovered it, giving the Bucs the ball at the Bears’ 35-yard line.
Brady found Evans for an 11-yard pass, and Ronald Jones II broke for runs of 12 and 3 yards to set up Brady’s second touchdown pass of the first quarter.
2nd quarter: 3rd turnover for rookie QB Justin Fields
Bears quarterback Justin Fields committed his third turnover of the first half, but the Bears defense came up with a stop to hold the Bucs’ lead to 21-0.
Bucs outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul got around right tackle Lachavious Simmons to force Fields to fumble, and Bucs inside linebacker Devin White recovered it and returned it to the Bears’ 25-yard line.
But Tom Brady threw three straight incompletions, and Bucs kicker Ryan Succop missed a 43-yard field-goal attempt wide right.
On the next Bears drive, Alex Bars replaced Simmons at right tackle.
2nd quarter: Cairo Santos gets Bears on the board
Bears kicker Cairo Santos made a 28-yard field goal to cut the Bucs’ lead to 21-3 with 6:08 to play in the second quarter.
Justin Fields hit Darnell Mooney with a 17-yard pass to open the drive, and Khalil Herbert had runs of 13, 12 and 6 yards.
But the Bears stalled after getting first-and-goal at the 10. Herbert gained 0 yards on first down, and Fields threw incomplete on the next two plays, including just out of reach of tight end Jesper Horsted in the end zone on third down.
2nd quarter: Tom Brady is doing Tom Brady things
Tom Brady’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans — one play after a 46-yard connection between the two — gave the Bucs a 28-3 lead with 3:35 to play in the second quarter.
Evans got the better of Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson on both plays to cap a five-play, 75-yard drive.
Halftime: Buccaneers 35, Bears 3
Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes and Bears quarterback Justin Fields committed three turnovers as the Bucs took a 35-3 lead into halftime.
The Bears allowed 21 points in the first quarter for the first time since 2013 and 35 points in the first half for the first time since 2014.
The Bears placed right tackle Elijah Wilkinson on the reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday afternoon, and started Lachavious Simmons in his place.
Simmons struggled mightily to handle the Bucs’ pressure, contributing to Fields’ interception and two lost fumbles. The Bears replaced Simmons with Alex Bars midway through the second quarter.
Brady completed 15 of 28 passes for 149 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans with nine seconds to play in the second quarter.
The Bucs went for it on fourth-and-1 at the 11-yard line on the drive, and Leonard Fournette gained 2 yards. Brady then hit Evans on third down, their third touchdown connection of the half.
The Bears’ only scoring drive in the half ended with Cairo Santos’ 28-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Fields completed 10 of 17 passes for 66 yards and was sacked four times. Khalil Herbert rushed 13 times for 91 yards.
3rd quarter: A stop by the Bears defense
The Bears defense stopped the Bucs on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line late in the third quarter.
After the Bucs had first-and-goal from the 2, Tom Brady threw a pass to Mike Evans for no gain and threw an incompletion. Ronald Jones II then gained 1 yard and was stopped for a loss of 1 yard.
It was a positive turn after a very bad sequence for the Bears that included defensive lineman Bilal Nichols being ejected from the game for throwing a punch at center Ryan Jensen.
On the previous Bears drive, Justin Fields committed his fourth turnover of the game in the third quarter when Jordan Whitehead intercepted him, and the Bucs offense took over at the Bears’ 17-yard line.
Fields was throwing a third-down pass to Darnell Mooney when the football bounced off Mooney’s fingertips and into the arms of a diving Whitehead. It was Fields’ second interception to go with two lost fumbles.
The Bears had third-and-2 at the 15-yard line before Sam Mustipher was called for offensive holding to set them back at third-and-12. Fields then threw the interception.
The Bucs then marched easily down the field, getting to the 2 on the Nichols penalty.
4th quarter: Bucs extend their lead
Bucs kicker Ryan Succop made a 22-yard field goal for a 38-3 lead against the Bears with 12:51 to play.
The Bucs got the ball on Justin Fields’ third interception and fifth turnover of the game. Fields was trying to hit Allen Robinson but underthrew the pass, and Pierre Desir stepped in for the interception.
Two plays later, Tom Brady threw a 34-yard pass to Chris Godwin to get the Bucs to the Bears’ 1-yard line. Leonard Fournette lost 3 yards on a carry and Brady threw incomplete twice before the Bucs turned to Succop.