Bears 24

(4-3, 1-2 away)

Buccaneers 18

(4-3, 3-2 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, October 23, 2011

Wembley Stadium, London 

1 2 3 4 T
CHI 7 7 7 324
TB 2 3 0 1318

Top Performers

Passing: J. Freeman (TB) - 264 YDS, 2 TD, 4 INT

Rushing: M. Forte (CHI) - 25 CAR, 145 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: M. Williams (TB) - 6 REC, 75 YDS

Matt Forte rushes for 145 yards, TD as Bears edge Bucs in London

Associated Press

WEMBLEY, England -- A long journey across the Atlantic wasn't about to slow down Matt Forte.

Bringing his multifaceted game to a new audience in England, Forte ran for 145 yards and a touchdown, and the Bears held on to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-18 on Sunday in the fifth annual NFL regular-season game at Wembley Stadium.

Jay Cutler threw for 226 yards and a touchdown, and the Bears (4-3) intercepted Josh Freeman four times for their second win in a row. The Buccaneers (4-3) lost for the second time in three years in London.

Forte, who came to London with a league-leading 908 combined yards rushing and receiving, also had two catches Sunday for 38 yards, bringing his total to 1,089. Forte is the first player since 2004 to go over 1,000 yards after seven games since Priest Holmes and Tiki Barber in 2004.

"He's the best player in the NFL right now," said Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, who had one of Chicago's interceptions. "The guy's a complete football player -- production every week. You look at everything he's done this year and it's amazing. He makes plays on the run and the pass every game."

Freeman threw two TD passes in the final period to pull the Bucs within three points midway through the fourth quarter. But after a 25-yard field goal by Chicago's Robbie Gould, Freeman was picked off for the fourth time with 37 seconds left by D.J. Moore.

"I was pretty much where I was supposed to be," Moore said. "Ball is up for grabs, you go for it."

Tampa Bay's loss completed a miserable day for the Glazer family, owners of the Bucs and Manchester United. Earlier, the Glazers were on hand at Old Trafford as the English Premier League champions were thrashed 6-1 by crosstown rival Manchester City. The Glazers came straight down to London for the NFL game and ended up 0-2 for the day.

The Bucs lost to New England 35-7 in London two years ago.

"The problem with us is we're too young," Bucs coach Raheem Morris said. "We're foolish. ... There's no excuses, no explanations, no travel excuses, no time zone excuses, whatever you want to call it."

While the Bucs came to London early in the week to acclimate themselves, the Bears arrived only on Friday. It didn't seem to hurt.

"We should be one of the teams going over and showing our brand of football internationally," Chicago coach Lovie Smith said. "You're never excited about flying for eight hours, but the players handled it well."

Attendance was 76,981, short of a sellout in the 82,000-capacity Wembley. It's the first time since the NFL began playing regular-season games here five years ago that tickets haven't sold out. Organizers blamed the NFL lockout, which meant the game wasn't officially confirmed and tickets put on sale until a few months ago -- rather than at the beginning of the year as in the past.

Still, the game provided plenty of action, as well as plenty of turnovers, penalties and some unusual moments -- including when a male fan ran onto the field, ripped off his shirt and high-fived players before being tackled by security guards.

"We had a squirrel on the field. We had a streaker on the field, so it was a great experience," said Bears receiver Roy Williams, who caught a 25-yard TD pass from Cutler.

Forte was already over 100 yards rushing midway through the second quarter. He broke through the right side of the Bucs defense and cut back across the field for a weaving 32-yard TD run that put the Bears ahead in the first.

"When you get the opportunity to make a big play you've got to make the most of it," Forte said. "I've got to take advantage of every time I get into the open field to make a big play."

Forte also ended up in his own end zone a few minutes later, tackled for a safety by Ronde Barber. That capped a quirky sequence of back-to-back interceptions. First, Tanard Jackson picked off a ball that went through Marion Barber's hands and returned it 42 yards to the Chicago 21. On the next play, Freeman hit Mike Williams over the middle at the goal line, but Chicago safety Chris Conte wrestled the ball out of his arms for a takeaway.

Freeman finished 29 of 51 for 264 yards and two touchdowns. Cutler was 17 of 32 with two interceptions.

The Bucs had to rely on the pass after losing running back Earnest Graham in the first quarter to a right ankle injury. He was starting for the second straight week in place of LeGarrette Blount, who was out with a knee injury.

"With Graham going out, we had to change our game plan completely," Freeman said.

Game notes

Goo Goo Dolls performed before kickoff. American tenor Noah Stewart sang "The Star-Spangled Banner," while Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins performed "God Save The Queen" for the second year in a row. ... After making his first 13 attempts this season, Gould missed wide right on a 41-yarder in the third quarter .... Barber recorded the 27th sack of his career. He has the most by any cornerback in NFL history.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs1916
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays6764
Total Yards395280
Yards per play5.94.4
Total Drives1516
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-21-4
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

chiTD8:53Matt Forte 32 Yard Run (Robbie Gould Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 81 yds, 2:02
tbSF4:54Matt Forte -2 Yard Run, Tackled In Own End Zone
Drive info: 1 plays, -2 yds, 0:00
chiTD7:57Roy Williams 25 Yard Pass From Jay Cutler (Robbie Gould Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 79 yds, 3:39
tbFG0:04Connor Barth 33 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 10 plays, 77 yds, 2:37
chiTD10:39Marion Barber 12 Yard Run (Robbie Gould Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 55 yds, 3:22
tbTD12:24Kellen Winslow 2 Yard Pass From Josh Freeman (Josh Freeman Pass to Mike Williams For Two-Point Conversion is No Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 21 yds, 1:14
tbTD7:25Dezmon Briscoe 24 Yard Pass From Josh Freeman (Connor Barth Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 48 yds, 2:34
chiFG2:00Robbie Gould 25 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 12 plays, 64 yds, 5:22

Research Notes

NEXT LEVEL: Matt Forte gained 79 of his 140 rushing yards after contact against the Bucs on Sunday. This should come as no surprise as Forte entered the game ranked 5th in the league in total yards after contact (210 yards) and the Bucs ranked 19th in yards after contact allowed per game (46.3 yards).
NEXT LEVEL: Josh Freeman threw a season-high four interceptions on Sunday and all four were on throws 11 yards or more beyond the line of scrimmage. Entering this weekend, Freeman had thrown an interception on only 2.7 percent of such attempts over the past two seasons, lowest rate in the NFL (min. 100 attempts).

ESPN Stats & Information