Skeleton Keys: Three Keys To A Buccaneers Victory Over The Bears


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are preparing for their home opener this weekend. They will be hosting their former NFC Central rival, the Chicago Bears. This is a critical game for both as the Bucs look to move to 2-0 and the Bears look to avoid 0-2.

Coming into the year, these were two teams that were thought to be going in opposite directions. The Bears traded away the first overall pick in the NFL draft for a new star receiver and invested the 10th overall pick into a powerful offensive tackle to solidify their offensive line. The Bucs had moved on from Tom Brady and were thought to be entering a rebuild.

Based on the week one results, it looks like both teams are trending to where they were last year. The Bucs looked like a playoff team during their upset win over the Vikings in Minnesota and the Bears were crushed by the Green Bay Packers. However, there is still a lot of football to be played this season.

I do believe the Bears will prove to be the improved team that they were expected to be. Beating them is no easy task and the Bucs have to be ready to play this weekend. Here are my keys to beating the Chicago Bears.

Keep Contain

Justin Fields is one of the most dynamic running quarterbacks the NFL have ever seen. His 1,143 rushing yards was 7th most in the NFL last season. This came from both designed runs and escaping the pocket and gashing defenses with his legs. 

While the Bucs can plan to stop the designed runs, it is often the rushing attempts that aren’t by design that are the most dangerous. However, there is a way to plan for this as well. That is by staying disciplined and keeping him contained in the pocket.

This will take an effort from the outside pass rushers. If the defender crashes too far in, the Fields has a lot of open space to run to the outside. However, if the defenders compress the pocket by slowly moving in on him then that can leave him nowhere to run. 

Shaq Barrett, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and Logan Hall have to prevent Fields from breaking to the outside. They have the athletic ability to stretch plays out to the sideline if Fields does try to escape around them. 

Pound The Rock

The Bears front seven leaves something to be desired. Despite a revamped and highly paid linebacker core, the Bears are vulnerable upfront to the run. This is just what the doctor ordered for a Bucs offensive line that is still trying to find chemistry. 

The Buccaneers rushed the ball 33 times last week for an underwhelming 73 yards. And while the average per carry was less than impressive, the number of attempts did seem to wear the defense down late in the game. 

I expect a similar balance between the run and the pass this week. Handing the ball off 30+ times a game helps take pressure off the quarterback and allow the defense to stay well rested. Against this Bears defense I would expect this to be a more efficient day on the ground. 

Limit Moore And Mooney

The Bears have two quick wide receivers in D.J. Moore and Darnell Mooney. This type of wide receiver has been a problem for the big body corners that the Bucs have. This is a stylistic mismatch in the Bears favor.

However, the Buccaneers secondary is very good. If they can prevent this pair from having a big day, say 100+ yards each, then the rest of the roster doesn’t have a lot of other options. That is more than a fair expectation of Jamel Dean and company.

Follow, Like and Subscribe to Bucs Report

For more on this and everything Buccaneers check back here hourly at