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Inside Slant: Turnovers too much for Glennon to overcome

Posted Sep 17, 2017

Mike Glennon passed for 301 yards and a touchdown in his return to Tampa, but the Bears quarterback couldn’t overcome three turnovers in a 29-7 loss to the Buccaneers.

It all started so well for Mike Glennon in his return to Tampa Bay. The Chicago quarterback completed his first six pass attempts of Sunday's game, moving the Bears down the field. After playing the first three years of his career with the Buccaneers, the Week 2 contest provided Glennon his first chance to play against the franchise that drafted him. The efficient throwing had the Chicago offense approaching the red zone on the first-quarter drive, with a first down and the ball on the Tampa Bay 22-yard line.

Then disaster struck. On Chicago's first snap following Glennon's sixth consecutive completion, the quarterback took one step back and fired a quick throw to tight end Dion Sims. It's a simple quick-gain play the Bears run regularly, with Sims running just a couple of yards before cutting to the sideline, where the ball is supposed to await him. Glennon's pass was in the air before Sims even broke on his route. But before it could reach the tight end's hands, Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander jumped in front of the Chicago target, intercepting the pass and ruining Glennon's perfect start.

It was that kind of day for the Bears. Glennon finished the game completing 31-of-45 passes for 301 yards, including one touchdown. But three turnovers by the Chicago quarterback cost the team in a 29-7 loss, dropping the Bears to 0-2 on the season.

Mike Glennon
Bears quarterback Mike Glennon.

"Obviously it was not what I envisioned or hoped," Glennon said about his return to Tampa Bay. "Ultimately it shows how important taking care of the football is. Four turnovers in the first half is not going to win many football games, three of those fall on me. Ultimately I have to do a better job and give us a better chance to win."

The Chicago defense wound up stopping the Bucs on the ensuing drive following Glennon's first interception, but there was little anyone could do on the next error the quarterback made. With 4:21 left in the second quarter, the Bears faced a third-and-nine from the their own 41-yard line. Out of the shotgun, Glennon looked to find an open target to move the chains. He spotted Joshua Bellamy, who was working out of the slot to his left, running a route towards the sideline. Bucs cornerback Robert McClain trailed the Chicago receiver by a couple of steps, giving Glennon an opening for the throw.

However, the throw was late, and by the time the ball reached Bellamy, McClain had undercut the pass. The Tampa defender intercepted Glennon at the 47 and took it all the way back, extending the Buccaneers' lead.

"[Bellamy] kind of turned around the nickel a little bit, so I thought when he broke out that he was going to win," Glennon said. "Obviously [that was] not the case, I need to move on in my progression. If I'm not 100 percent sure he's going to win, I need to move on."

Along with the two interceptions, Glennon also lost a fumble in the second quarter, which led to seven more Tampa Bay points. All in all, it was not the type of return to Tampa that he hoped for. But instead of saying the injuries Chicago faces at receiver and on the offensive line were the cause of the errors, or making any other type of excuse for his poor play, Glennon pointed the finger at himself.

"It wasn't a revenge game at all for me, it wasn't like I pressed at all," he said. "Three bad plays were costly. Other than that we moved the ball well, we just didn't put ourselves really to compete in the game. And that falls on me."

John Fox agreed with his quarterback's assessment. The Bears' coach said that there were several reasons the team fell short against the Buccaneers, not just because of Glennon's turnovers. Along with the interceptions, Chicago had special-teams miscues, penalties and other errors that contributed to the loss, so pointing the blame strictly at the quarterback was both unfair and irresponsible.

"It's not a one-man game," Fox said. "I thought [Glennon] made some good throws, he hung in there, got hit enough. I don't think that loss was all about the quarterback."

Glennon was far from the only reason the Bears lost on Sunday, and he did show in the fourth quarter why the team has confidence in his abilities. But one touchdown throw at the end of a blowout loss isn't enough to make up for the costly errors he made earlier in the game. The quarterback will need to keep the strong plays and do away with the mistakes for the Bears to win games in the weeks to come.