TAMPA— On a warm, humid day in Florida, the Bears treated the football like a hot potato.
After not committing any turnovers in last week's season opener against the Falcons, they coughed up the ball four straight times to begin Sunday's game, enabling the Buccaneers to race to a 23-0 second-quarter lead en route to a 29-7 victory at Raymond James Stadium.
"Basically it was not a good day at the office," said coach John Fox. "Anytime you go out and you have four giveaways in the first half, it's not good news. I thought the guys hung in there in the second half really in all three phases. Unfortunately, we dug ourselves too big a hole against a real good football team at their place."
Quarterback Mike Glennon accounted for three of the four turnovers with two interceptions—one of which was returned for a touchdown—and a fumble. His stats were decent; he completed 31 of 45 passes for 301 yards with a 76.2 passer rating. But the turnovers were costly.
Bears running back Jordan Howard rushed for only seven yards on nine carries in Sunday's loss in Tampa.
"We just didn't put our team in a good situation to succeed, and that falls on me," Glennon said. "I've got to clean that up."
With the loss, the Bears fell to 0-2 for the third straight season.
After Nick Folk's 42-yard field gave the Buccaneers a 3-0 lead midway through the opening period, Glennon completed his first six pass attempts for 53 yards. But his seventh throw over the middle intended for tight end Dion Sims was intercepted by linebacker Kwon Alexander, who returned it 22 yards to the Tampa Bay 38.
It appeared that the Buccaneers would go three-and-out when Akiem Hicks stopped running back Charles Sims for no gain on third-and-one. But Tarik Cohen unwisely tried to field a bouncing punt while surrounded by two defenders, resulting in a fumble that was recovered by Buccaneers linebacker Cameron Lynch at the Chicago 13.
On the next play, receiver Mike Evans caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Jameis Winston on a fade in the right corner of the end zone, beating Marcus Cooper Sr. to give Tampa Bay a 10-0 lead with :10 left in the first quarter.
The Bears then committed their third straight turnover when Glennon fumbled while being sacked by defensive end Noah Spence. The ball popped into the air and was caught by linebacker Lavonte David at the Bears' 35.
The Buccaneers converted the turnover into Jacquizz Rodgers' 1-yard TD run, widening the margin to 17-0 with 7:30 remaining in the half. The score came one play after Willie Young had drawn the third holding penalty of the first half on the Bears defense.
Things then went from bad to worse as Glennon's pass intended for Joshua Bellamy along the sideline was intercepted by cornerback Robert McClain and returned 47 yards for a touchdown. Folk missed the extra point, but Tampa Bay led 23-0.
Folk made amends, however, drilling a 50-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to increase the Buccaneers' lead to 26-0. Folk added a 23-yarder early in the fourth quarter to make it 29-0.
The Bears failed to advance into the red zone through the game's first three quarters, but they did so on all three of their possessions in the final period. They turned the ball over on downs twice before Glennon hit Deonte Thompson with a 14-yard touchdown pass in the back left corner of the end zone with 1:43 left in the game.
By then, unfortunately, it was too little too late.
"You've got to give a little credit to our opponent," Fox said. "There were some poor decisions made and we paid the price. Any time you play in the NFL and you turn the ball over four times in the first half, that's about what it looks like."