DOMINATE TURNOVER MARGIN
The Bucs defense forced four turnovers in the Bears’ first six drives last year. Safety Chris Conte’s pick-six resulted in the game’s first points, and another takeaway came when Chicago was at the Bucs 4-yard line.
Defensive takeaways might be where these two teams were most different last year. The Bears matched an NFL record low with only 11 takeaways in 2016, while the Bucs had the third-highest total in the league with 29. Chicago also had 31 giveaways, so its minus-20 turnover margin matched the Jets for the NFL’s worst.
Turnovers can make other things trivial. Chicago had outgained the Bucs 215-164 in the first half last year (50 yards on a last-second desperation touchdown throw) but trailed 14-10 because the Bucs dominated with takeaways.
Bears strong safety Harold Jones-Quartey stiff-arms Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston after intercepting a pass in the first quarter last season. Chicago was unable to capitalize, handing the ball back on a fumble at the Tampa Bay 4.