Sluggish Bucs trail Bears 13-7 at halftime
The Bucs offense was dormant again on Sunday in the first half and trail the Bears 13-7. A blocked punt set up Tampa Bay’s only touchdown in the first quarter but they lost all the momentum after that. Here are some first half observations.
--Penalties continue to doom the Bucs. A facemask penalty on Alterraun Verner erased an interception by William Gholston that would’ve given the Bucs a first down at the Chicago 10 yard line leading 7-0. Instead, the Bears maintained possession, and thanks for a pass interference penalty on Sterling Moore, completed the drive for a touchdown.
There is never a good reason to grab a players’ facemask in coverage, so it’s been that kind of year for Verner.
--It's the third week in a row Bucs offense has been stagnant. If not for the blocked punt to set up Doug Martin’s 4-yard touchdown run, Tampa Bay has done nothing in the first half the past three games. They trailed the Saints 14-0 and the Rams 21-6.
--Bucs can’t get any pressure on Cutler to disrupt him. DT Gerald McCoy has the only sack for the Bucs and did get penetration to bat the pass in the air which was intercepted by Gholston. Other than that, they've had to rely on blitzes that haven't gotten home. Cutler is 14-of-18 passing and had a pass dropped in the end zone by Eddie Royal.
--Where has Keith Tandy been. The Bucs have tried eight combinations in the secondary. An injury to Chris Cote forced Tandy into the lineup and he responded with five tackles in the first half. His career high is seven.
--Doug Martin has to do a better job of holding onto the football. Despite his sensational year, he lost his third fumble Sunday to set up a field goal drive. Martin has only 24 yards on 8 carries.