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Bears Win Close One in London, 24-18 Over Tampa Bay Bucs

David Fearn/Action Plus/Icon SMI

It was an international affair Sunday and, the Bears came out on top! The Bears faced the Tampa Bay Bucs in the NFL's annual international game that's held at Wembley Stadium in London. This was the 5th game the NFL has played in London. The Bears improved to a 4-3 record with a 24-18 victory over the Bucs across the pond. 

Matt Forte added to the long list of reasons why the Bears need to give him a contract extension. Forte had 145 yards on 25 Carries for 1 TD. He also added 2 catches for 38 yards. Surprisingly Forte was the 4th leading receiver on the day behind Roy Williams (4 Catches, 59 yards, 1 TD), Johnny Knox (3 Catches, 53 yards), and Devin Hester (4 Catches, 46 yards). Forte highlighted his performance with a 32 yard touchdown in the 1st quarter, evading several defenders, and making two Tampa Bay defenders run into each other off a perfectly timed juke. The only thing that would have made that better was the inclusion of Benny Hill's theme music. 

The Bears started the game out with a hot hand as Matt Forte was carving up the defense. When it was looking all but too good to be true, Marion Barber bobbled a screen pass which allowed a Tampa Bay defender to intercept it and get the ball inside the Bears 20 yard line. The 1st play of that drive, Rookie Chris Conte had a fumbleception, in which he intercepted a pass by literally ripping it from the arm's of the WR. It was a perfect chain of events until the Bears gave up a safety on the first play. Ugh. 

The Bears were leading 21-5 entering the 4th quarter. Josh Freeman led the Bucs on a 4th quarter burst by throwing a touchdown to Briscoe and Winslow. Tampa had came within 3 points in the 4th before Robbie Gould hit a FG to go up 6. The ensuing drive was ended, and the game was sealed when Freeman threw his 4th interception of the game. DJ Moore was able to get the game sealing interception. A great victory for the Bears as they move to 4-3 however, the late burst in the 4th quarter by the Bucs is something I don't hope to see the Bears allow again this season. 

Some observations from the game...

  • Roy Williams got his 1st TD as a Bear with a 25 yard catch in the 2nd quarter. Williams finished with 59 yards on 4 catches.
  • Marion Barber had a nice 3rd quarter TD run from 12 yards out. He finished the day with 6 carries for 39 yards, which somewhat makes up for his drop in the 1st quarter on a screen pass which led to a Tampa Bay interception. 
  • Chris Conte's fumbleception in the Red Zone is something he needed to get him going and playing well. Expect his play to rise in the coming weeks after having his first big play of his NFL career. 
  • Offensive play calling was less than great after the Bears jumped to a big lead. The pass/run ratio significantly favored the pass when they got the lead....WHY!? Forte could have ground up 200 yards on the defense, feed that man the ball please! 
  • The Bears defense intercepted Josh Freeman 4 times. Brian Urlacher, Chris Conte, DJ Moore, and Lance Briggs had the 4 interceptions. 
The Bears have a bye week this week. Gabe Carimi is expected to return as the Bears will face the Philadelphia Eagles in 2 weeks. The Bears were 4-3 last year at the bye week as well. Good sign!