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Futility becoming one trait of Bears

At least against the Bucs defense, which extends its pounding of the Chicago offense into a third season.

The military term for it is shell shock.

Collectively, the Bears offense suffered from the condition Sunday, the result of being repeatedly battered and beaten by the Bucs defense.

It was a seminal performance by the Tampa Bay defense _ total domination, including four turnovers (two fumble recoveries, two interceptions), one touchdown and many big hits.

"It's a feast or famine defense," Chicago quarterback Cade McNown said, "and they ate a lot."

The Bucs seem to be at their best against the Bears, who haven't scored a touchdown on Tampa Bay in 14 quarters.

It was Chicago's first shutout loss since 1989 and its worst defeat since 1987. The Bears had nine first downs, 165 total yards and coverted 1 of 11 third downs. McNown, who went the distance, completed 15 of 29 passes for 96 yards.

"They play in unison. They play as one. That's the bottom line," said running back James Allen of the defense against which he gained 47 yards on six carries. "They fly around, and they've got some leaders over there."

The Bears said the Bucs operated at maximum efficiency.

"They always have four or five players around the ball," running back/kick returner Glyn Milburn said. "They are an aggressive defense. The credit has to go to them and their scheme and their athletes. They don't play a complex scheme, but they play it well."

Even Chicago's good plays came with a price. Bobby Engram made a short catch for a first down late in the third quarter. A nanosecond after the completion, he was sent reeling by linebacker Derrick Brooks.

"They play as a unit," Engram said. "Everybody is solid. As a unit, I don't think anybody (in the NFL) plays this well."