The Chicago Bears continue their improbable start to 2020, moving to 4-1 on the season after defeating Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2) at Soldier Field, 20-19. This game ended up coming down to the wire with a defensive stand by Chuck Pagano's defense in the final minute of the game, preventing yet another last-second miracle for Brady to add to his résumé. That all came after kicker Cario Santos netted a 38-yard field goal that gave the Bears the lead and eventual winning result.
Overall, it was a steady night for Nick Foles in his first win as the Bears starter, completing 30 of his 42 passes for 243 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. That pick was Foles' lone blemish on the night, but it wasn't necessarily his doing as the pass intended for Allen Robinson fell in and out of the receiver's hands and into the arms of Buccaneers defensive back Carlton Davis. David Montgomery was another offensive star for the Bears. While he only rushed for 29, he did score Chicago's first touchdown of the day and caught seven of his eight targets for 30 yards.
As for Tampa Bay, they got off to a hot start, but inconsistency hit them hard in the second half, punting the ball away or failing to convert on fourth down in three of their final four drives of the night. Brady finished with 253 yards passing and a touchdown, but was under siege throughout the evening, getting hit eight times and sacked three times. Ronald Jones and his second-straight 100-yard rushing game was a bright spot in the backfield, but it wasn't enough to give Tampa Bay its fourth-straight win of the year.
Below, you can see our main takeaways from the game and see how the action unfolded in real-time with our live blog from the contest.
Why Chicago won
The Bears were able to absorb Tampa Bay's initial punch (13 unanswered points) over the first quarter and a half and a sluggish start of their own (three punts and an interception on their first four drives) to then flip a switch midway through the second. With 7:03 on the clock, Nick Foles led the Bears on a 10-play, 75-yard drive that concluded with David Montgomery crossing the end zone for their first touchdown of the night. After that, Matt Nagy's club was able to force a turnover, find the end zone again, and actually head into the halftime locker room with the lead. That was a pretty remarkable turn of events for a team that had yet to score as late as the two-minute warning.
They showed that resiliency once again in the second half, but mostly on defense. After the Buccaneers kicked a field goal to go up 19-17 and the Bears punted it back after a quick five-play drive, it looked like Tampa Bay was primed to extend its lead and walk away with the game. Instead, Chicago's defense helped force on a three-and-out to give the ball back to the offense, that would march down the field for the go-ahead field goal. On that drive, Nick Foles was particularly clutch, completing a third-and-9 pass to Anthony Miller from their own 49-yard line to keep the drive alive. Prior to that conversion, the Bears converted just two of their eight third-down tries.
Chicago was also able to pressure Brady throughout this game, which did prove to be a key factor, especially towards the end of the contest.
Why Tampa Bay lost
While the Buccaneers were able to start the game off hot, they were playing some uneducated football down the stretch. With a prime opportunity to extend a 16-14 lead in the third quarter, Tampa Bay's offense got the ball and proceeded to make careless mistakes that put them behind the eight-ball. After getting it to the Chicago 35-yard line, Tristian Wirfs, Mike Evans, Ryan Jensen, and Donovan Smith were all called for penalties that put the Buccaneers in first-and-30, second-and-34, and fourth-and-27 situations. That's simply not winning football and caused this reaction from Tom Brady.
But Brady was also a factor in the loss as well, seemingly not knowing he was playing on fourth down on the Bucs final offensive play of the game. It appeared as if Brady thought it was third down prior to the Bucs turning the ball over on downs. Those types of mental mistakes prevented Tampa Bay from earning a W in what was a very winnable game, especially for a team that had the time of possession advantage and logged more total yards. The Bears deserve credit for gutting out this win, but the Bucs shot themselves in the foot a number of times.
There were a couple of turning points in this game, one coming in each half. The first was Bears corner Kyle Fuller delivering a devastatingly textbook hit on Ke'Shawn Vaughn that forced the Buccaneers rookie receiver to fumble the ball just outside of the red zone. That gave Chicago the opportunity to score back-to-back touchdowns and erase a 13-0 Tampa Bay lead in what felt like the blink of an eye.
The second turning point came in the final quarter of play where the Bears forced a three-and-out for Brady and the Bucs offense. After punting the ball away, Chicago's defense came up extremely clutch, tackling Ronald Jones for a loss and forcing Brady into two incomplete passes to quickly get the ball back for the offense to go for the game-winning score. In all, the Bears defense allowed Brady's Bucs to take just 16 seconds off the play clock before punting the ball away. Saving that time while also preventing Tampa Bay from extending it's 19-17 lead was critical to set up the win.
Play of the game
It's hard to argue for anything other than this impressive one-handed catch by Jimmy Graham. The Bears tight end turned back the clock to his days with the New Orleans Saints in the closing minutes of the first half. After nearly scoring two plays early, Graham lined up on the left side of the field, Nick Foles tossed it to the back corner of the end zone and the veteran tight end was able to not only make the catch but did it with one hand. That capped off a quick, four-play drive by Chicago and gave them the lead going into the locker room for halftime. Graham finished his night with three receptions for 33 yards and that score.
From here, the Buccaneers will head back to Raymond James Stadium and await Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, who'll be fresh off a Week 5 bye. Meanwhile, Chicago will begin a two-game road trip, starting in Carolina when they visit the Panthers.