Final

Bears 7

(1-5, 1-2 away)

Buccaneers 19

(2-5, 1-2 home)

1:00 PM ET, October 24, 2004

 

1 2 3 4 T
CHI 0 0 7 07
TB 0 10 3 619

Pittman bowls through Chicago defense

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Michael Pittman remained face down on the turf with just under two minutes to go and Tampa Bay's improving ground game suddenly looked like it might be in trouble again.

Mike Alstott had already been helped from the field with a sprained right knee and Pittman, the star in Sunday's 19-7 victory over the Chicago Bears, appeared to be injured seriously when he was dragged down awkwardly for a 4-yard loss.

Allen's Analysis

Eric Allen

Bears at Bucs: Is it a good idea for Smith to keep Krenzel in at QB?

The Bears are in a situation where injuries have limited what they can do on both sides of the ball. At this point of the season, with the injuries they've suffered, I think that decision is not very high on coach Lovie Smith's list of things to do. That said, this is an opportunity for the coaching staff to try out a variety of different players but the team's personality must stay strong no matter what they decide to do. They need to try to find out who is mentally playing well and find spots for those players.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders. He's a regular contributor to Insider.

Turns out it was only a scare.

Despite being bothered by back spasms, Pittman rushed for a season-high 109 yards and one touchdown. He also had a 46-yard reception, setting up a field goal as the Bucs (2-5) won a matchup of teams desperately needing to jump-start disappointing seasons.

"I needed to be in the game, so I kept going back in," Pittman said after limping off to a standing ovation. "It was hurting bad, but I thought my team needed me."

Brian Griese threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Michael Clayton and Martin Gramatica kicked a pair of 22-yard field goals for Tampa Bay, which rushed for a season-best 138 yards. Pittman became the fourth back in six games to top the century mark against the Bears (1-5).

Pittman, making his third start after missing three games while serving a suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, sealed the outcome with a 3-yard TD run with just under 9 minutes to go.

"Mike played an unbelievable game. ... I think he made more plays today for us than he has all year. It's a credit to him because he was in pain," Griese said.

Watching Pittman leave the field limping because of his back, rather his one his knees, was a relief for Bucs coach Jon Gruden, who already has lost Charlie Garner to season-ending knee surgery.

Gruden said Alstott had a MCL injury that needed further evaluation.

"We don't know the exact severity," the coach said.

Chicago continued to struggle with Jonathan Quinn filling in at quarterback for injured Rex Grossman. Craig Krenzel replaced Quinn after the Bears fell behind 13-0, and the rookie completed 9 of 19 passes for 69 yards and threw an interception that set up Pittman's touchdown.

The Bears avoided a shutout when Thomas Jones' 1-yard TD run gave them hope for a comeback. But Ronde Barber's interception and return to the Chicago 11 positioned Tampa Bay to put the game away.

Jones, who rushed for 52 yards on 13 carries, has been one of the bright spots for the Bears in their slow start under first-year coach Lovie Smith.

The shifty 220-pound back has two 100-yard rushing and looked like he might get off to a big day when he took a swing pass from Quinn on Chicago's first play from scrimmage, found an opening on the right side and streaked up the sideline untouched for an apparent 77-yard touchdown.

But receiver David Terrell was penalized for offensive pass interference for throwing a block on linebacker Derrick Brooks on the opposite side of the field, nullifying the score and setting the tone for a mistake-filled day.

The Bears also hurt themselves with an unnecessary roughness penalty after backing the Bucs up inside their own 5-yard line when defensive tackle Tommie Harris jumped offside and knocked Griese to the ground late in the first quarter.

The play allowed Tampa Bay to get out of the hole and Griese proceeded to complete the longest field goal drive in Bucs history -- 93 yards -- to take a 3-0 lead.

"We've got to get better," Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said. "We've got good players. We just make stupid mistakes. We've got to eliminate those."

Clayton's touchdown, finishing another 93-yard drive, made it 10-0 just before the half and Gramatica's second field goal made it 13-0 before Pittman's fumble -- caused by Urlacher and recovered Todd Johnson at the Tampa Bay 31 -- gave Chicago a chance to get back in the game.

Quinn was 5 of 9 for 47 yards. The Bucs sacked each Bears quarterback twice.

Smith said he has not made a decision on whether Krenzel or Quinn will start next week.

"We'll evaluate that," the Chicago coach said. "I can't be that pleased because we didn't get the win."

Game notes


Griese was 15-of-23 for 163 yards and no interceptions. ... Pittman joined Ahman Green, Bryant Westbrook and Clinton Portis as backs rushing for 100 yards against the Bears. ... Chicago's Jason McKie sprained a knee returning the second-half kickoff. He fumbled on the play, setting up Gramatica's second field goal. ... Tampa Bay WR Joe Jurevicius, out nearly a year with knee and back injuries, made his season debut and had two catches for 21 yards. ... Bucs WR Tim Brown had one reception for 13 yards, extending the league's longest current streak of consecutive games with a catch to 179.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
Chicago
Tampa Bay
1st Downs1117
3rd down efficiency
3-136-13
4th down efficiency
0-20-0
Total Yards167293
Yards per play3.24.8
Total Drives11
Passing91155
Comp-Att
14-2815-23
Yards per pass
3.36.7
Interceptions thrown
10
Sacks-Yards Lost
4-251-8
Rushing76138
Rushing Attempts
2037
Yards per rush
3.83.7
Penalties10-786-41
Turnovers22
Fumbles lost
12
Interceptions thrown
10
Possession27:4932:11

Passing Leaders

CHIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Krenzel9/19693.6012-12
Quinn5/9475.2002-13
TBC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Griese15/231637.1101-8

Rushing Leaders

CHICARYDSAVGTDLG
Jones13524.019
Thomas5173.4010
TBCARYDSAVGTDLG
Pittman231094.7119
Alstott7294.1014

Receiving Leaders

CHIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Gage44310.8021
Clark33110.3014
TBRECYDSAVGTDLG
Clayton66210.3114
Pittman25527.5046

Scoring Summary

SECOND QUARTERCHITB
FG1:35MARTIN GRAMATICA 22 YD
Drive: 10 plays, 93 yds, 5:21
03
TD14:12MICHAEL CLAYTON 6 YD PASS FROM BRIAN GRIESE (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK)
Drive: 16 plays, 93 yds, 7:55
010
THIRD QUARTERCHITB
FG2:37MARTIN GRAMATICA 22 YD
Drive: 6 plays, 40 yds, 2:28
013
TD11:15THOMAS JONES 1 YD RUN (PAUL EDINGER KICK)
Drive: 6 plays, 31 yds, 3:17
713
FOURTH QUARTERCHITB
TD6:08MICHAEL PITTMAN 3 YD RUN (TWO-POINT PASS CONVERSION FAILED)
Drive: 3 plays, 11 yds, 1:34
719