Trubisky has best game yet in Bears rout of Buccaneers

Trubisky has best game yet in Bears rout of Buccaneers
Bears Akiem Hicks ejected for shoving official
CHICAGO — From the moment they identified him as the quarterback to lift their struggling franchise, the Chicago Bears envisioned big games from Mitchell Trubisky.

Trubisky threw a career-high six touchdown passes — one shy of the NFL record — and the NFC North-leading Bears pounded the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-10 on Sunday.

The Bears (3-1) won their third straight with Trubisky delivering the sort of performance general manager Ryan Pace envisioned when he traded up a spot to draft the prized quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick last year.

In 2016, his first year with the Bears, Hicks recorded 54 tackles, seven sacks, two pass deflections and two forced fumbles. Hicks signed a contract extension with the team before the start of the year and ended last season with 54 tackles and 8.5 sacks. He saw his pass deflections and forced fumbles go down last season, but he saw his sack numbers increase. At just 28 years old it is reasonable to expect him to still be on an upward trajectory in his NFL career.

Video: Buccaneers vs. Bears Week 4 Highlights | NFL 2018

He finished one TD pass short of the franchise mark set by Sid Luckman against the New York Giants in 1943. Luckman is tied with seven others in NFL history to throw seven TD passes in a game. The Bears also racked up 483 yards in this one, nearly matching their record of 488 in that same game, on the way to their highest point total since 51-20 victory over Tennessee in 2012.

“Its very humbling because you know the history of the Bears and how many great players have come through this organization,” Trubisky said. “For me, youre just trying to create your own legacy and try to make a path.”

Hicks was often miscast in terms of his role in both New Orleans and New England with both squads trying to use him as a 4-3 defensive end or sometimes a defensive tackle. The Bears saw that his best fit was as a 5-technique defensive end in a 3-4 scheme and signed him to a two-year deal during the 2016 offseason. His new deal he signed before the start of the 2017 regular season was for four years and worth $48 million.

The defence did its part, harassing Ryan Fitzpatrick before Jameis Winston took over to start the second half. And the Bears (3-1) matched their longest win streak since a 3-0 start in 2013.

Trubisky had never thrown for more than two touchdowns in a game. But he tossed five in the first half alone as Chicago grabbed a 38-3 lead. The only other player with more in a single half since 1991 was Green Bays Aaron Rodgers with six in the first two quarters against the Bears in a romp at Lambeau Field in November 2014.

Following the acquisition of Khalil Mack before the start of the year, Hicks life has become easier along the line of scrimmage. He entered Week 4 with 10 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles. Following his ejection from the game, Hicks was not happy.

Trubisky had no trouble finding wide-open receivers against a struggling secondary, completing 19 of 26 passes for 354 yards.

At the time of Hicks ejection, he had recorded one tackle, one sack, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hit. Hicks has been one of Chicagos most consistent contributors since joining the team in 2016.

“Hopefully, this is a day where we look back down the road here,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said, “and say, Remember that day where he had that great game? And it helped catapult him into being a great quarterback.”

Khalil Mack had a strip-sack in the first half against Fitzpatrick. That made him the first player with a sack and forced fumble in four straight games since Robert Mathis for Indianapolis in 2005. He also appeared to tip the ball as Winston released a pass that Danny Trevathan picked off on the first drive of the second half.

The Bears entered halftime against the Buccaneers with a 38-3 lead and eventually walked away with a 48-10 victory behind six touchdown passes from Trubisky.

Coming off a tight loss to Pittsburgh on Monday night, the Buccaneers (2-2) were simply overwhelmed in this one.

“We should fire every person that was on that field today, starting with me. That was horrific,” coach Dirk Koetter said.

Koetter said Winston “probably” did enough to regain the starting job, but wouldnt quite commit to that.

Tampa Bay decided to stick with Fitzpatrick as the starting quarterback even though Winston was back from a three-game suspension for violating the NFLs personal conduct policy.

But after becoming the first player in NFL history to top 400 yards passing in three consecutive games, Fitzpatrick was 9 of 18 for 126 yards and got sacked twice. Winston was 16 for 20 with 145 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Chicagos Tarik Cohen had a career-high 121 yards receiving and a touchdown. Taylor Gabriel had a personal-best 104 yards receiving to go with two TD catches.

Allen Robinson caught a 14-yarder late in the first quarter — his first TD since signing with Chicago in the off-season.

The incident occurred after Eddie Jackson intercepted a pass by Fitzpatrick. Hicks was involved in a scuffle away from the play with a Buccaneers player. Down judge Mike Carr had separated them when Hicks charged back and pushed the official, referee Jerome Boger told a pool reporter.

Hicks remained on the sideline for a few plays before leaving the field and threw his shoulder pads and jersey into the stands.

Buccaneers: TE O.J. Howard left in the first half because of a knee injury. … CB Carlton Davis III aggravated a groin injury.

Bears defensive end Akiem hicks was tossed from Sundays game against the Buccaneers after he shoved an official.

The transgression occurred in the second quarter after teammate Eddie Jackson intercepted a pass from Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.