Article by Brian Loague
Hard Knocks is over. So is Hurricane Irma. That means it’s finally time to get back to football.
The Buccaneers took the field for the first time this season by welcoming back Mike Glennon and his Chicago Bears.
Jameis Winston began his 2017 campaign by trying to establish an immediate connection with his receivers. Winston targeted five different receivers on the Bucs opening drive. Winston just missed connecting with DeSean Jackson on a long touchdown pass early in the first quarter. Jackson finished his Bucs debut with 39 yards on three catches. The Bucs settled for a field goal on their opening drive of the season. Former Buccaneers QB Mike Glennon looked sharp on his opening drive, completing six straight passes before Kwon Alexander intercepted Glennon in Bucs territory. Alexander later left the game with a hamstring injury and did not return.
The Bucs defense was just getting started though as later in the first quarter Tarik Cohen made a rookie mistake by trying to field a punt off the grass and return it while deep in Bears territory and promptly muffed it setting up the Bucs for a touchdown pass from Winston to Mike Evans. Evans led all Buccaneers receivers with 93 yards and a touchdown.
Noah Spence got in on the action too by sacking Glennon and recovering the fumble in the second quarter. This turnover led to more points when Jacquizz Rodgers punched it in from 1 yard out to give the Bucs a 17-0 lead. Rodgers would finish with 67 yards on 19 carries to go with that touchdown.
The onslaught didn’t stop there. Robert McClain picked-off another Glennon pass and took it back for a 47-yard TD.
Later in the quarter, Nick Folk added a field goal that put the Bucs ahead 26-0 at the half.
The Bucs made their first mistake of the game when Charles Sims did a little too much dancing and fumbled the ball away and the Bears recovered. However, the Bears were not able to turn the turnover into any points. Rookie tight end OJ Howard made his first career reception later in the third quarter. It was his only reception of the game.
By the time the fourth quarter rolled around fans in the stands and most likely the Bucs players themselves wanted to get the shutout. For the most part they got what they wanted until Glennon found Deonte Thompson for a late meaningless touchdown. In the end, fans went home happy after a dominate performance by the Bucs. The final score of 29-7 reflected as much.
The Bucs (1-0) will head up to the site of this year’s Super Bowl and take on the Minnesota Vikings (1-1) at 1:00pm Eastern Time. The Bucs and the fans hope this not the only trip to Minnesota this season.