Saturday, October 22, 2011
Nuts & Bolts: Bears Vs. Buccaneers
By Michael C. Wright
BEARS VS. BUCCANEEERS
When: Noon, Sunday | TV: FOX | RADIO:780 AM, WBBM & 105.9 FM
|How will Jay Cutler and Mike Martz get along Sunday? Tune in and find out.|
Coach: Lovie Smith | Record including playoffs: 69-55 | Last week: Beat Vikings 39-10
Career head-to-head record (including playoffs) vs. Raheem Morris: 0-0
Career record (including playoffs) vs. Buccaneers: 2-2
Key stat: The Bears remain winless this season when they score fewer than 17 points, and are 10-41 under those circumstances since 2004.
Offense rank: 21st (327.8 ypg) | Defense rank: 29th (397.3 ypg)
Offensive leader: Quarterback Jay Cutler ranks third in franchise history with six 300-yard passing games, including two in 2011. Perhaps more impressive is that it's taken Cutler 37 games to rack up those 300-yard passing days. Bill Wade, the franchise's leader in 300-yard passing games (9) and No. 2 Erik Kramer (7) posted their 300-yard games over the course of 59 and 55 games, respectively.
Defensive leader: Playing on a sprained knee, defensive end Julius Peppers recorded two sacks in last week's win over the Minnesota Vikings to run his total to four sacks on the season. Peppers has now tallied 20 career multi-sack outings. With 93 career sacks, the defensive end has the third-most sacks since entering the NFL in 2002, and is one sack away from tying Jason Taylor for No.2 on the list.
|Julius Peppers is coming off a two-sack performance against the Vikings. |
The Bears have scored on 15 of 16 trips to the red zone so far this season; eight touchdowns and seven field goals.
Since 2004, the Bears defense is tied for first in safeties (8). Interestingly, rookie defensive tackle Stephen Paea became the first Bears player since at least 1970 (statistics aren't available before then) to post a safety in his rookie debut.
The Bears haven't converted a third-and-9 situation in three consecutive weeks, and are currently 22 of 74 overall on third-down conversions.
Coach: Raheem Morris | Record: 17-21 | Career head-to-head record vs. Smith: 0-0
Career record against Bears: 0-0 | Last week: Defeated the Saints 26-20
Key stat: The NFL's youngest team with an average age of 25, the Buccaneers' expecting starting lineup features 19 players who began their careers with the club. Of the 22 players listed as starters, only three of them made their regular-season debut with a different team (C Jeff Faine, TE Kellen Winslow and S Sean Jones). Of the 19 to first appear with Tampa Bay, 16 were originally drafted or signed by the team, having appeared exclusively on Bucs roster throughout their careers.
Offense rank:15th (350.5 ypg) | Defense rank: 25th (390.5 ypg)
Offensive leader: QB Josh Freeman is in his third season as a pro, and second as the starter. But over his last 25 starts, Freeman is 16-9 having won nine of his last 12 road games. Despite his inexperience, Freeman ranks sixth in Tampa Bay franchise history in touchdowns passes (40) and sixth in passing yards (6,765). Freeman owns a franchise mark for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass (15).
|Josh Freeman's record as a starter speaks for itself. |
Defensive leader: Rookie LB Mason Foster ranked second in the nation in tackles (162) as a senior at Washington, and currently leads the Buccaneers with 42 stops. A third-round pick, Foster is also tied for the team in lead in sacks, and according to NFL.com, Foster leads all rookies in tackles and is tied with teammate Adrian Clayborn for most sacks by a rookie.
Tight end Kellen Winslow has caught a pass in 82 consecutive games, which ranks as the third-longest active streak among tight ends and the eighth longest streak overall.
Pro Bowl OT Donald Penn has started 66 consecutive games, and gave up just 3 1/2 sacks in 2010. This year, the Bucs have given up 9 sacks, which ranks as fourth fewest in the NFL.
Over the past 12 seasons, Tampa Bay has posted a turnover differential of plus-61, which is second best in the NFL during that span. The Buccaneers have also won six of the last eight games in which the club didn't turn over the ball.