TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Jameis Winston threw for 204 yards and one touchdown Sunday, helping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers return from an unscheduled bye week forced by Hurricane Irma to open the season with a 29-7 rout of the mistake-prone Chicago Bears.
The defense stymied former teammate Mike Glennon with four turnovers. Robert McClain returned one of the quarterback’s two interceptions for a TD, and the Bucs didn’t let the Bears into the end zone until Deonte Thompson scored on a 14-yard reception with 1:43 remaining.READ MORE: 2 Class Action Lawsuits Filed Against Rockton's Chemtool Plant
The Bucs (1-0) dominated despite having a short week of practice following the massive storm that forced postponement of the team’s scheduled season opener at Miami.
Winston completed 18 of 30 passes without an interception. He threw a 13-yard TD pass to Mike Evans, who had seven catches for 93 yards.
Listen: Bears audio highlight reel from Ron Gleason
Glennon, who signed with Chicago as a free agent last winter, was 31 of 45 for 301 yards and two interceptions in his return to Raymond James Stadium. The Bears (0-2) finished with 310 yards total offense, 1 yard less than a Bucs offense that hasn’t had much work in the past month.
By the time he lined up to face the Bears, Winston hadn’t taken a snap in a game in three weeks. Eight regulars, including Evans, receiver DeSean Jackson, linebacker Kwon Alexander and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, hadn’t seen game action in a month.
The Bucs insisted, though, that they would not use rustiness as an excuse if they had a less-than-sharp debut. The way the Bears played, the layoff never had a chance to become an issue.
After opening the season with a solid performance in a 23-17 loss to defending NFC champion Atlanta, the Bears turned over the ball four times in the opening half, helping Winston build a 26-0 halftime lead.
If Chicago had an advantage entering the game, it figured to be Glennon’s knowledge of the Tampa Bay defense. The fifth-year pro faced it in practice every day the past four seasons, the last two as Winston’s backup.READ MORE: With Areas Of Naperville Devastated By Tornado, Neighbors Band Together A Night Later To Help Each Other
And while the Bears did have some success moving the ball, the barrage of turnovers was too much to overcome.
Glennon’s first-half miscues led to two touchdowns. Rookie Tarik Cohen’s ill-advised decision to scoop a punt off the ground and run with it deep in Bears territory set up Tampa Bay’s first TD, Winston’s 13-yard pass to Evans.
Noah Spence sacked Glennon, forcing a second-quarter fumble that led to Jacquizz Rodgers’ 1-yard TD run. McClain’s interception and return up the sideline on Chicago’s next possession hiked the lead to 23-0.
Bears: OL Tom Compton (hip) and LB Nick Kwiatkoski (pectoral) did not play in the second half.
Buccaneers: Alexander left the game in the second quarter with a hamstring injury and did not return.
Bears: Return home to face Pittsburgh.
Buccaneers: Play road opener at Minnesota, which played Sunday without QB Sam BradfordMORE NEWS: Man Fatally Shot While Working On Car In Front Of His Fernwood Home
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