UA-59049186-1 Buccaneers 36, Bears 10 - Good if it Goes

Buccaneers 36, Bears 10

Box Score

Grading Primer (I wrote this about Michigan, but the grading procedures are still relevant.)

Jay Cutler shot the team in the foot over and over again and the Bears were unable to recover from the wounds. The game was close for much of the first half, then Tampa Bay found the end zone to take a 2-TD lead right before halftime. A Hail Mary as the half ended cut the Chicago deficit to 7. The Bears wouldn’t score again after that. Plenty to unpack, but first, let’s look at the

Player Grades



How’d they do has been absorbed into


This blog is done defending Jay Cutler. He is still a better option than Brian Hoyer would have been, but that is a rather low bar to clear. I will say, though, that if there was a game where one could say Hoyer would have fared better without looking like a complete dope, it’s this one. That is how bad Cutler was. -6.5 is horrible for anyone, for a QB, doubly so. For a QB, +6.5 is just okay. But minus – that is a level of suck I don’t think I’ve seen in the two seasons I’ve been grading games.* He’s obviously capable of great performances – he was awesome against Minnesota. And I know bad games happen to everyone at one point or another, but you just can’t turn in a game like this. This wasn’t just bad, it was careless. It was every negative thing people have to say about Cutler all rolled into three-and-a-half hours. You can’t win with that. You just can’t. Time to move on. Tony Romo appears done in Dallas; he’d make a great stop-gap for the Bears. See what Belichick’s asking price is for Jimmy Garoppolo. Take one of the top QB prospects in this year’s draft. (As for who – I’ll watch more tape on those guys after the season. Right now, Deshaun Watson looks like the best by a solid margin.) Something. It can’t be Cutler next year and it can’t be Hoyer, and while I liked what I saw from Connor Shaw in the preseason, putting many eggs in that basket is a bad idea.

*Second season for Michigan, first for the Bears.

Cutler does not bear the blame for this debacle alone, though. Why Dowell Loggains went away from the run when Jordan Howard was playing well is beyond me. Even with the fumble, he still had a good day. Speaking of play calling, I’d like to turn your attention to the goal-to-go series that ended with Cutler’s first fumble:

Time Score Down Distance Ball on Personnel Formation
14:33 2Q 7-3 TB 1 Goal TB 6 21 I-form
Playaction, Cutler (-2) looks for Jeffery in the back of the end zone, doinks the defender covering him in the head, and after bouncing off the defender’s helmet, the ball is nearly picked.
14:25 2Q 7-3 TB 2 Goal TB 6 21 Pistol FB Weak
Cutler fakes a toss to Howard and throws a shovel pass to Lasike. Lasike (-1.5) bobbles the pass before hauling it in, but falls while doing so. The play was blocked well. (Sitton +1, Massie +1)
13:54 2Q 7-3 TB 3 Goal TB 4 11 Shotgun trips left
Tampa Bay brings pressure, Leno (-1.5) and Massie (-1.5) blow their blocks. Cutler (-2) steps up, rolls left, gets hit, and fumbles. Tampa Bay recovers.

See “hand-off to Jordan Howard”anywhere there? Me neither. That should have been the first down play.

The tackles sucked. There’s no other way to put it. Bobby Massie was especially awful, racking up a -7 in only 23 snaps. That would be the gold standard for suck if not for what Cutler did in this one. Mike Adams came in after Massie exited with a concussion and aside from one big biff, played pretty well. Might be time to give him a look at RT. Since we’ve started talking a bit about the draft (And, after this game, it’s no longer too early to do that.), LT should be a priority. If Leno’s your RT going forward – fine. Unless he makes a big leap this off-season, I’m not crazy about him on the blind side.

The secondary just isn’t very good. That’s something else that will need to be addressed this off-season. They didn’t grade out all that bad, outside of Tracy Porter, but grading doesn’t tell the story here. Vic Fangio (the only coach I’m not mad at right now) knew that he didn’t have anyone who could handle Mike Evans one-on-one, so the Bears doubled him. The thing about doubling one guy is that now, there’s less help available for everyone else. So in order to reduce their risk of giving up a big play, the Bears played off of Tampa Bay’s other receivers. Jameis Winston and Dirk Koetter happily took the solid, consistent yardage given to them. Had it been me calling plays, I wouldn’t have played quite as far off and mixed in some more aggressive coverages in the hopes that the pass rushers could pressure Winston into making some careless throws that the DBs could pounce on. That said, Winston does have a propensity to overthrow his guys, particularly when under pressure, so I don’t think what Fangio did was the worst idea in the world. Also, I have the benefit of hindsight.

Couple more bits of bad news: Kyle Long and Will Sutton out for the rest of the season and Alshon Jeffery is suspended for the next 4 games after testing positive for a banned substance.

Now for the brighter parts. Josh Sitton played well coming back from an injury. The aforementioned Howard. Zach Miller played a fine game. Akiem Hicks had another good outing. Eddie Goldman played very well in his return. The linebackers were all good-to-excellent.


Yet To Be Named Gimmicky Award Meant To Show Who The Best Overall Performers Were

If you have an idea of what I should call this, let me know. Twitter handle and e-mail address are at the end of the blog.

Anyway, up to 3 may be awarded per player. Not necessarily the highest-graded players since different grades mean different things to different players (refer to the primer).


3: Josh Sitton, Zach Miller

2: Jordan Howard, Eddie Royal, Alshon Jeffery

1: Kyle Long


3: Leonard Floyd, Willie Young, Danny Trevathan, Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Pernell McPhee

2: Jerrell Freeman

1: Cre’Von LeBlanc

Yet To Be Named Gimmicky Award Meant To Show Who The Best Overall Performers Were Count


Bear Down!

Twitter: @KSchroeder_312


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