The defense is close, but it still has room to grow
Todd Bowles and the defense have been some of the brightest spots of the team this year, but last night the unit fell short. Tampa Bay was able to force an interception, but the defense was far too soft at the wrong times.
Nick Foles, who looked mostly pedestrian last night, picked the defense apart during the second half with receivers that weren’t even covered. The Buccaneer corners allowed one short throw after another to open receivers, and Tampa Bay can’t let quarterbacks like Foles put on a clinic.
The Buccaneers needed to make a substantial adjustment to stop the Bear offense, and they couldn’t rise to the challenge against one of the most mediocre units in the league statistically. The defense is better this year than it was last year, that much is clear, but it may be too soon to crown them a top unit in the league.
So far this season, the Bucs have played a backup quarterback and a third-string quarterback in two of their three wins, and it is time to expect more from the secondary.
The Buccaneers have numerous great pieces on the defensive side of the football, but consistency is critical. The defense should have thrashed an offense like this, and this group needs to step up for the rest of the season, especially with Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers on the schedule.