Chicago Bears 24-18 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bears V Buccaneers
23 Oct 2011 - 6:00 PM
NFL International Series
6pm (GMT), Sunday 23 October 2011
Chicago Bears enjoyed a successful trip back to the UK beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24 – 18 in the Fifth International Series game at Wembley.
The regular season showdown between the young and exciting Buccaneers and one of the oldest NFL franchises the Chicago Bears was billed as an entertaining but even contest before the game and it didn’t disappoint the Wembley crowd.
Touchdowns from Matt Forte, Marion Barber and Roy Williams gave the Bears the victory against a brave Buccaneers.
The game never really looked in doubt for the Bears early on but they were forced to work for the victory in a tense final quarter which saw a Bucs revival.
With all the usual glitz and glamour coming to London as it has done since the series came to Wembley for the first time in 2007, the fans once again turned out in force to see the Bears take on the Buccaneers.
The ceremony of anthems and pre-game show from the Goo Goo Dolls, Noah Stewart and Katherine Jenkins delighted the 76,981 Wembley crowd.
Before the game the Bucs were sitting pretty at the top of the NFC South Division with a 4-2 record, while the Bears have had a mixed season in the NFC North Division with a 3-3 record. The game was billed as an evenly matched contest and the first half didn’t disappoint the English crowd.
The opening quarter was full of high drama with one touchdown, two interceptions and a safety. It was the Bears who opened the scoring, quarterback Jay Cutler laying the ball off to running back Matt Forte who punished the Bucs defense with a fantastic 32 yard run into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. The ensuing kick was successful by Robbie Gould to earn an extra point for the away side.
An interception by both teams followed, firstly it was a Cutler pass intercepted by Tanard Jackson. But within seconds the Bears regained procession of ball when Chris Conte intercepted a Josh Freeman pass.
Although Chicago had the ball, RB Matt Forte was unable to get out of his own end zone and was tackled for a safety with the Bucs gaining two points.
Chicago Bears cemented their lead in the match in the second quarter with their second touchdown of the game. Wide receiver Roy Williams claimed the ball from a Jay Cutler pass for the touchdown. Robbie Gould’s kick was good to put the away side 14-2 up.
Tampa Bay tried to force a touchdown before the break but had to settle for a Connor Barth field goal to make the score 14-5 at half-time.
Chicago Bears maintained their lead in the game in the third quarter, Cutler laid the ball off to running back Marion Barber who made no mistake with the touchdown to put the Bears in complete control and lead 21-5 after another successful Gould kick.
Tampa were unable to respond and it nearly got worse for the home side when a Freeman pass was intercepted by Lance Briggs who ran in for another touchdown. Unfortunately for Briggs play was called back for the illegal use of hands by teammate Tim Jennings.
In the fourth and final quarter the Buccaneers were dealt a lifeline, a Cutler pass short right was caught by Corey Lynch. With 12:24 left on the clock, Freeman passed short right to TE Kellen Winslow who scored the touchdown.
The Bucs went for the two point conversion attempt but Freeman’s pass to Williams was incomplete.
This didn’t dent the young Bucs confidence and the fight back was well and truly on when Freeman passed deep to wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe who ran in for the touchdown.
Connor Barth’s kick was good to make the score 21-18 and tee up a tense finish for the Bears. Chicago kept their nerve and reliable kicker Robbie Gould kicked from 25 yards to put his side six points up on the two minute warning.
Freeman tried desperately to get the win for his side but was intercepted in the final moments of the game by D.J.Moore to give the Bears the win.