The Buccaneers Make Another Early Statement But A Bigger Challenge Lies Ahead


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took themselves to a 2-0 record for the 2023 NFL campaign as they backed up their opening day narrow victory over the Minnesota Vikings, with a better, but still close win over the Chicago Bears at the Raymond James Stadium.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield’s impressive opening performance of the year against the Bears was backed up in their most recent 27-17 showing, even though it pretty much went down to the wire but short of the first quarter, they were more comfortably in charge even if the score board did not reflect that. The NFL consistently ranks as one of the top sports events for bookmakers and they provide full coverage of NFL games. For those who enjoy sports betting the reliable NFL betting site analyses provided by Cheeckypunter could be of use in the season ahead, particularly if this form keeps up.

28 year old Mayfield ended the day going 26 for 34, 317 yards and a touchdown. Mike Evans led the receivers with six interceptions, returning 171 yards and a score and Rachaad White added 73 yards of his own and a score as well.

From the start the Bucs looked lively, although they could’ve lost two turnovers, including a contract ruled down fumble claim by White, but they were on the board with three following a 26 yard field goal by Chase McLaughlin.

The quarter then turned against them with the Bears establishing an advantage with seven points of their own as Justin Fields capitalised on good work from D.J Moore, to sprint through to the end zone. It was a different story in the second quarter though, early on Mayfield set Evans up for a 70 yard catch to set them up on the seven yard line, and three plays later White muscled into the end zone to re-establish a three point lead (10-7).

After a bit of cat and mouse, former Bucs kicker Cairo Santos executed a 52 yard field goal to tie the game up at ten with two minutes left on the play clock, but the Bucs went into high gear and in their time limited offence, they had two plays at the end zone with 22 seconds left. The Bears held firm, so the Bucs sensibly took the field goal option to go into the half time break 13-10.

Despite the momentum break that may have caused, the Bucs approached the second half with great confidence, and Evans in particular was a huge thorn. 36 yards on a nine yard catch in their first drive set up what was to come, and a spectacular diving throw from Mayfield, caught by Otton, kept the play alive and White hit a huge third down conversion.

20-10 it was and the Buccaneers again battled for a punt, and in winning it, they were forced into their own as the Bears doubled down on defence. They then succeeded in going 90 yards in under four minutes for a 20 yard touchdown reception making it a 20-17 game.

After some more back and forth, the Bucs needed one more solid defensive play and they had it in them as Shaq Barrett killed any chance of a late comeback with a pick six on Justin Fields. A second sack from Vita Vea and then an Christian Izien interception, allowed Mayfield an the Bucs to kneel out a 27-17 win to go 2-0 and now it is very much all eyes to the unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles in Week 3 just to see how far the Buccaneers may go this year.

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