Bears roster studs and duds in disappointing loss to the Buccaneers

By | September 17, 2023

The studs and guys on the Bears roster in a disappointing loss to the Buccaneers originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Second verse, same as the first, but much stronger and much worse. Okay, maybe it’s unfair to call the Bears’ loss to the Buccaneers “worse” than their Week 1 flop against the Packers, but it was undoubtedly disappointing. The Bears needed a big response in Week 2 to prove that 2023 could be different than 2022. But after a touchdown on the first drive, the Bears’ offense again failed for much of the day. Defensively, several injuries in the secondary have clearly hurt the Bucs’ talented wide receiver corps. The pressure was better on offense, but the Bears still couldn’t finish for sacks against Baker Mayfield. Here’s who played better, and who wants to improve next week.


The Bears needed someone, anyone, to step up and generate some pressure on opposing QBs after allowing Jordan Love to slice and dice their secondary in Week 1. Green has been that guy on a couple of occasions . Green won his one-on-one matchups, which is an imperative in Matt Eberflus’ defense, and forced Baker Mayfield to rush the game, which resulted in some incompletions. Green also came through with a huge field goal block on an easy 40-yard attempt to keep the points off the board.

With Kyler Gordon, Eddie Jackson and Jaquan Brisker all down at the end of the game, Johnson remained the only proven veteran in the Bears’ secondary against the Bucs. Johnson wasn’t challenged much, as Mayfield chose to challenge the Bears’ younger defenders more often, but when he was, he made plays. Johnson appeared to give up just one reception on the day, on a backyard pitch-and-catch between Mayfield and Mike Evans on a broken play. He did well to deny Chris Godwin a touchdown in the first half. Johnson could have played a role in turning the tide with a big forced fumble in the third quarter, but the Bears were unable to jump on the ball and the Bucs later scored a touchdown. Yet, this is the playmaking ability the Bears want from him this season.


Moore looked every bit the part of WR1 in Week 2. He got open early and often and played a big role in the team’s two touchdown drives. Moore showed off his separation skills to get wide open for piece gains and showed elusiveness to gain valuable yards after the catch. Moore was also an important outlet for Fields on a 3rd-and-10 conversion to support the team’s fourth-quarter touchdown. It’s no mistake that when Moore was heavily involved the Bears scored, and when he wasn’t they didn’t.


The progress we heard about and thought we saw at the start of training camp will not show up on Sunday. Fields held the ball too long, too many times, and it played a major role in the six sacks he took. Additionally, it appeared Fields missed wide open receivers or simply rejected open throws for the second week in a row. Throwing to Chase Claypool was special. He threw a dart into a tight window and gave the team hope late in the game, but it was too little, too late. Choice six was bad, but maybe it wasn’t all his fault. It looked like Luke Getsy called too many screens and Shaq Barrett was ready for the show. The second interception wasn’t his fault at all. However, if Fields doesn’t improve and make special throws like the one against Claypool more often, the questions about whether or not he is truly the person to lead the team moving forward will become increasingly louder.

Jones held himself accountable after numerous mistakes in Week 1. He will have to hold himself accountable again after more mistakes in Week 2. Jones’ toughest stretch came early in the second half when he was flagged for a false start, then surrendered a big lot of consecutive plays. Jones was also reported for a participation which was ultimately rejected because Fields was fired anyway. Jones was really good for parts of the game, but mistakes like that are momentum killers.

Stevenson had a strong debut against the Packers, but the Bucs targeted him early and often in Week 2. It’s hard to say exactly who is to blame for the miscommunications in coverage, but Stevenson was involved in some bad zone passes that led to big gains for Bucs receivers. Evans in particular mistreated Stevenson. The worst moment was a 3rd-and-14 play when Evans hit Stevenson for a touchdown. Playing corner isn’t easy for rookies, so days like today aren’t unexpected as Stevenson develops, but the Bears are hoping for more Week 1s than Weeks 2 going forward.

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