Local Sports

Bucs Roll Bears

Baker Mayfield passed for 317 yards and a touchdown in Tampa Bay's 27-17 victory over the struggling Chicago Bears on Sunday.


With Mayfield playing turnover-free ball for the second straight week and Mike Evans catching six balls for 171 yards, the Bucs (2-0) handed the sputtering Bears a franchise-record 12th consecutive loss dating to last season.


Mayfield completed 26 of 34 passes and also bailed out tight end David Wells by recovering a fumble that bounced 11 yards backward to the Chicago 32.


Evans delivered his second TD catch of the season on the next play.


The 28-year-old quarterback set up Rachaad White's 1-yard TD run with a 70-yard completion to Evans in the first quarter. His 32-yard scoring pass to Evans - Tampa Bay's all-time leading receiver - finished an 89-yard drive and put the Bucs up 20-10.


Tampa Bay's defense did its job, too, after yielding a 75-yard TD drive on Chicago's first possession of the game. The Buccaneers sacked Justin Fields six times and picked him off twice.


The Bears (0-2) closed to 20-17 on Chase Claypool's 20-yard TD catch, but saw any hope for a comeback fade when Fields - throwing out of his own end zone - tossed an interception that Bucs linebacker Shaquil Barrett returned 4 yards for a clinching TD.


Mayfield, who spent his first four seasons with Cleveland before splitting 2022 between Carolina and the Los Angeles Rams, shrugged off a slow start to throw for 173 yards and two touchdowns without a turnover to beat Minnesota 20-17 on the road in the season opener.


The Bucs started more smoothly against the Bears, driving 77 yards in 12 plays to take an early 3-0 lead on Chase McLaughlin's 26-yard field goal. Mayfield drove his team to another field goal in the closing seconds of the second quarter for a 13-10 halftime lead.


The sixth-year pro's transition to the Bucs has been helped by a strong complement of skill players.


In addition to Evans having a big day, Chris Godwin had five receptions for 58 yards and White finished with 73 yards rushing on 17 attempts.


Fields completed 16 of 29 passes for 211 yards. DJ Moore, acquired in the offseason in a bid to put more playmakers around Chicago's young quarterback, had six receptions for 104 yards, but the Bears were limited to just 67 yards rushing.


The Bears lost starting safeties Jaquan Brisker (illness) and Eddie Jackson (foot) on consecutive plays in the first quarter. WR Darnell Mooney (knee) departed in the third quarter.


The Bears travel to Kansas City to face Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs.

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