Similar to last week's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers accumulated a very large lead in the first half, but on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium, they didn't have to struggle to hold on in an easy 38-3 win over the visiting Chicago Bears.
Taking advantage of three first-half Bears turnovers (five turnovers overall), Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady threw four first-half touchdowns, including his 600th career touchdown pass, a nine-yarder to Mike Evans, that put the Bucs up 21-0 early in the second quarter.
Evans picked up his second TD of the game later in the second to give the Bucs a 28-3 lead, and caught his third touchdown from Brady with nine seconds left in the half to officially put the game out of reach.
In the process the Bucs set a team record with 35 first-half points, and also accumulated their second-largest halftime lead, the largest being last season's 34-0 halftime lead against the Detroit Lions.
We know it's sacrosanct to anoint a game over at halftime, but for all intents and purposes, the second half played out exactly as it should have after Tampa Bay attained such a large lead, with Brady sitting out about half of the fourth quarter, and the Bears defense seeing much more of the Tampa Bay rushing attack, allowing the clock to wind down.
The lone bright spot for the Bears was running back Khalil Herbert, who gained the most rushing yards against the Buccaneers' defense this season, with 100 yards on the ground.
Some bad news for the Bucs in this game included injuries to two more of their cornerbacks. Dee Delaney, who had an interception of Justin Fields in the first quarter, went down with an ankle injury, and Jamel Dean went down in the fourth with a shoulder injury and didn't return.
As for next week, it's the Buccaneers' first matchup with the New Orleans Saints and old friend Jameis Winston at the Superdome. Countdown to Kickoff gets under way here on 95.3 WDAE at 2 p.m. next Sunday with Tom Krasniqi and Michael Clayton. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:25 p.m.
Cover Photo: Getty Images