The Chicago Bears had everything going for them last Sunday in Carolina, but then forgot to close out a 14-point lead, and allowed the Panthers to claw their way back for a tough defeat – 20-17. This week they return home to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that won it’s first game last weekend, thumping the young Falcons, 24-6.
The Bucs are in the midst of issues within the team. Head coach Jon Gruden and former starter Jeff Garcia are not exactly breaking bread these days, and he has decided that the best bet for the Bucs to win is to go with journeymen QB Brian Griese. He’s a veteran QB that knows all about the Bears, considering he was on their team just one season ago.
For Tampa Bay, they are a banged up squad entering the contest, as they may be without number one WR Joey Galloway, who has a bum ankle. The team is going to have to rely on its running game, a ground attack that was led by backs Earnest Graham and Warrick Dunn, who last week combined for 165 yards, highlighted by Graham’s career-long 68-yard touchdown. They will need to have success to take the pressure off of Griese.
For the Bears, they also need to shore up the offense, as last week Kyle Orton, who played well in the opener, was mostly ineffective vs the Panthers. He does not have a TD, but also does not have a pick, so the coaching staff is at least happy he’s not giving the opponents easy chances. Orton overthrew several receivers Sunday, and maybe playing in front of the home crowd for the first time this season will mean more success.
Look for the Bears to try and force the Bucs to pass, and then unleash the dogs on Griese. On the other hand, the Bucs defense is also pretty good, and will do what it can to stop Matt Forte and put the pressure on Orton to make plays. This has all the makings of a close, defensive battle that will come down to the fourth quarter.
The Bears are at home, and their defense should have enough to create some turnovers against old pal Griese. Look for the Bears to be 2-1 after topping the Bucs by three.