Bucs-Bears: Who deserves the blame for Tampa Bay’s ‘horrific’ 48-10 loss?

The only thing worse than the Bucs pass rush Sunday was their coverage.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson (12) makes a touchdown reception against Bucs cornerback M.J. Stewart (36) during the first half. [AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh]
Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson (12) makes a touchdown reception against Bucs cornerback M.J. Stewart (36) during the first half. [AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh]
Published Sep. 30, 2018

CHICAGO — As postgame rants from the podium go, it fell a little short of qualifying for a beer commercial. But coach Dirk Koetter's diatribe of disgust over his team's embarrassing 48-10 loss to the Bears is memorable in that it was probably the only thing well-executed by the Bucs at Soldier Field on Sunday.

After watching his team allow Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky to throw six — SIX! — touchdown passes, Koetter was asked if he should consider making a change at defensive coordinator by firing Mike Smith. He didn't stutter.

"Based on that game today, we couldn't make enough changes,'' Koetter said. "We should fire every person that was on that field today, starting with me. That was horrific.''

Koetter's self-deprecating firing line may have been made in jest. But Smith has done a good job of fanning his own flames.

Last season, the Bucs had the worst defense in the NFL. But based on the first four games of 2018, that unit played like the '85 Bears.

Tampa Bay has allowed 139 points in four games this year, the most to ever start a season in club history. And it's not like they give up the ghost late.
In the last two weeks, the Bucs yielded 30 to the Pittsburgh Steelers and 38 to the Bears in the first half.

Trubisky entered the game as one of the most beleaguered quarterbacks in the NFL. The Bears had built a 2-1 record on the strength of their defense and in spite of the former first-round pick from North Carolina, who entered Sunday with only two TD passes.

To put in perspective what Trubisky accomplished, consider that it's the most touchdowns thrown in a game by a Bears quarterback since Sid Luckman tossed seven in 1943, the first year the NFL made players wear helmets. Of leather.

"When they announced it on the Jumbotron is when I heard,'' Trubisky said. "It was pretty cool.''

Trubisky finished 19-of-26 passing for 354 yards, 6 TDs, no INTs and a 154.6 passer rating. He also rushed three times for 53 yards.

The only thing worse than the Bucs pass rush Sunday was their coverage. Receivers ran free all over the field. The Bears had six pass plays of 30 yards or more in the first half. In fact, their first-half possessions went TD, punt, TD, TD, TD, TD, FG.

Let's just say if Koetter's request was honored, they would run out of pink slips. On defense, it's crowded in the firing line. Where do you even start?


The new defensive line coach was supposed to make an immediate impact on the league's worst pass rush that had only 22 sacks last season.

The Bucs signed defensive tackle Beau Allen and Vinny Curry from the Eagles. They drafted Vita Vea with their first-round pick and they traded for Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

Only Pierre-Paul has lived up to his promise. He had the Bucs' only sack Sunday, his fourth of the season, to go along with a team-best 10 tackles, two tackles-for-loss and a quarterback hit.

"We didn't come to play,'' Pierre-Paul said. "We didn't come to play as a team. It's frustrating, man. You know I've been in the league for nine years and never got beat like that. Never, ever got beat like that. And I take that (crap) personally."

Of course, Buckner warned the Bucs that Trubisky would use a hard count. They still jumped offside three times.


Sure, the Bucs were down to their third safety. Isaiah Johnson started for rookie Jordan Whitehead (hamstring), who was supposed to start for Chris Conte (knee), who is on injured reserve. Rookie Carlton Davis left the game after aggravating a groin injury, presumably chasing Bears receivers through the end zone.

Brent Grimes was benched in the second half to let Ryan Smith have some fun. There were so many breakdowns that it was hard to count the number of receivers that ran free Sunday as if they were invisible.

"I mean, you wouldn't like it if they were doing it to you,'' linebacker Kwon Alexander said. "That (bleep) is disgusting. But we're going to get it fixed.''


Well, as the adage goes, a coach can't play for you.

That said, these are NFL players, the best in the world as Koetter is fond of saying, and they are also the ones the Bucs wanted. So it's Smith's job to put those players in the best position to succeed.

When the Bucs gave up 40 points to the Saints, it was about Drew Brees being a future Hall of Famer. Same with the 30 they allowed to Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. In between, they held Super Bowl MVP quarterback Nick Foles to 21.

But Trubisky? He threw all of seven TDs all of last season. The Bucs allowed 483 total yards Sunday. It was the 19th time the Bucs have yielded 400 plus yards under Smith in 36 games, which is the most in the NFL during that stretch.

"You know, we can talk about what plays are called on both sides and we definitely could've played better today on both sides, but Mike Smith didn't make any tackles or turn any guys loose on coverage,'' Koetter said. "You can make as many innuendos all you want, but we got beat in all aspects of football today and coaching as well.''

What was the word Koetter used? Horrific.