Buccaneers running back Doug Martin entered Sunday’s contest nine yards short of being the league’s leading rusher, so the Bears’ porous run defense had its work cut out for them.
Led by a strong effort from their linebacking corps, the Bears shut down Martin, holding the dynamic back to just 49 yards on 17 carries, a 2.9 average. I sure hope Martin’s fantasy football owners had a strong supporting cast.
Martin did add a four-yard touchdown run in the first quarter after a blocked Pat O’Donnell punt set up the Bucs with a short field. But the Bucs’ lead back was largely ineffective throughout the game and also lost two fumbles in the Bears’ 26-21 victory.
The Bears had a little more difficulty in stopping the Bucs’ backup running back, Charles Sims, who rushed just four times for a whopping 45 yards. He also caught three passes for 72 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown pass. Bears cornerback Tracy Porter was caught in between going for the pass breakup or making the tackle, and he wound up missing both.
But by and large, the Bears defense managed to defend against what the Buccaneers do well and it helped propel them to the victory.