Tampa Bay Sports Day

NFL: Tampa Bay Shuts Out Bears in First Half on Way to First Win

TAMPA — After nearly a week of Hurricane Irma-forced inactivity, Tampa Bay wasn’t the least bit rusty, routing visiting Chicago (0-2), 29-7.

The Buccaneers (1-0) led 26-0 at halftime, a team-record advantage at the break in a season opener. It was Tampa Bay’s largest halftime advantage since 2001.  Tampa Bay allowed only 20 yards rushing in today’s game, the ninth-lowest mark in a game in team history. The team’s 1.25 rushing average allowed also stands as the ninth-lowest mark in a game in team history.

Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay’s third-round draft pick in 2013 who played four seasons for the Bucs, completed 31 of 45 passes for 301 yards for the Bears.

Tampa Bay took the opening kickoff and drove 51 yards in 13 plays, taking 6:02, setting up a 42-yard field goal from Nick Folk. The Buccaneers also scored on their opening drive of the 2016 season.

On the ensuing Chicago possession, linebacker Kwon Alexander recorded Tampa Bay’s first takeaway of the season, intercepting Glennon at the Buccaneers 16-yard line, returning it 22 yards, to the Tampa Bay 38-yard line. Alexander now has four career interceptions. The Buccaneers offense went three-and-out following the Alexander interception, but cornerback Ryan Smith forced a fumble from by Tarik Cohen, which was recovered by Tampa Bay’s Cameron Lynch at the Chicago 13-yard line. It is the first career fumble recovery for Lynch.

Bucs’ QB Jameis Winston connected with Mike Evans for a 13-yard touchdown on the first play following the special teams fumble recovery. Winston now has 51 career touchdown passes. Evans now has 28 career touchdown catches, tying Joey Galloway for the third-most receiving touchdowns in franchise history.
 
The Buccaneers registered their third takeaway of the day when defensive endNoah Spence sacked Glennon and forced a fumble that was recovered by Lavonte David. Spence now has 6.5 career sacks and four career forced fumbles. David now has five career fumble recoveries. Following David’s fumble recovery.

The Buccaneers scored their second touchdown of the day on a one-yard touchdown run by running back Jacquizz Rodgers, capping a nine-play, 35-yard drive that lasted 3:56. Rodgers now has eight career rushing touchdowns.

 The first points of the second half came on Folk’s 23-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, finishing off a 16-play, 87-yard drive that lasted 8:36.
 
On the visitors’ next possession, Glennon threw his second interception of the game, with corner Robert McClain picking off the pass and returning it 47 yards for a touchdown, his first career interception returned for a touchdown. McClain now has five career interceptions. Since the start of 2016,  the Buccaneers have recorded 33 takeaways, the third-most in the NFL during that time.
 
BUCS NOTEBOOK:  McClain’s interception for a touchdown is the fifth for the Buccaneers in the past two seasons, which is the most in the NFL over that span…..Folk made his second field goal of the game on the final play of the first half, connecting on a 50-yard field goal to give the Buccaneers a 26-0 halftime lead. Folk’s field goal capped an eight-play, 48-yard drive that lasted 1:04…..Tampa Bay’s 26 first-half points were the most that the team has scored in an opening half since 2015 and the most in the first half of a home game since 2007…..Tampa Bay’s 26-point first-half margin was the fifth-largest in team history and the largest since 2001.