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Futility becoming one trait of Bears

At least against the Bucs defense, which extends its pounding of the Chicago offense into a third season.

By PETE YOUNG

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 11, 2000


TAMPA -- The military term for it is shell shock.

Collectively, the Bears offense suffered from the condition Sunday, the result of being repeatedly battered and beaten by the Bucs defense.

It was a seminal performance by the Tampa Bay defense -- total domination, including four turnovers (two fumble recoveries, two interceptions), one touchdown and many big hits.

"It's a feast or famine defense," Chicago quarterback Cade McNown said, "and they ate a lot."

The Bucs seem to be at their best against the Bears, who haven't scored a touchdown on Tampa Bay in 14 quarters.

It was Chicago's first shutout loss since 1989 and its worst defeat since 1987. The Bears had nine first downs, 165 total yards and coverted 1 of 11 third downs. McNown, who went the distance, completed 15 of 29 passes for 96 yards.

"They play in unison. They play as one. That's the bottom line," said running back James Allen of the defense against which he gained 47 yards on six carries. "They fly around, and they've got some leaders over there."

The Bears said the Bucs operated at maximum efficiency.

"They always have four or five players around the ball," running back/kick returner Glyn Milburn said. "They are an aggressive defense. The credit has to go to them and their scheme and their athletes. They don't play a complex scheme, but they play it well."

Even Chicago's good plays came with a price. Bobby Engram made a short catch for a first down late in the third quarter. A nanosecond after the completion, he was sent reeling by linebacker Derrick Brooks.

"They play as a unit," Engram said. "Everybody is solid. As a unit, I don't think anybody (in the NFL) plays this well."

Buccaneers quotebook

Defensive tackle Warren Sapp on Bears quarterback Cade McNown: "This was our plan coming in: If we don't allow this quarterback to beat us with his legs, he'll never beat us with his arm; and we proved ourselves right."

Cornerback Ronde Barber on McNown: "He made some comments that he thought he knew what we were going to do; he thought he knew how to play us. He still got stuffed. It's hard to play a defense this fast. It's easy to look at it on tape and say you've got it figured out."

Defensive end Chidi Ahanotu on linebacker Derrick Brooks: "Derrick is playing great. It's no secret that Derrick is the best linebacker in the NFL."

Guard Frank Middleton on the offense: "Everybody says how good our defense is, and they're great. But every once in a while, the offense wants to come out and showcase us, too. We showed we can throw the deep ball; we can pass more, too. That's all we want to do: try and take the lead and run with it."

Receiver Keyshawn Johnson on catching two passes for 32 yards and a touchdown: "As long as we get the win, I'm happy. If I didn't score, that's fine as long as we still win the game. I think when we started to run the ball I just wanted to improve on my blocking. We can hit you any time we want to. I think that was evident today."

Running back Mike Alstott: "The talk at the half was to go out there and execute, and not turn the ball over. We did not want to play conservative just because we had a big lead. It's a 60-minute ballgame, and we have to keep plugging away."

Sapp on the offense: "We've got too many weapons to go out there and go three and out and just punt the ball."

Sapp on how the defense contained McNown versus the Vikings defense last week: "Minnesota ain't us. We ain't Minnesota."

Middleton on ex-Buc and current Bears defensive tackle Brad Culpepper: "He didn't like our running game. He didn't like it at practice, and he really didn't like it now."

Middleton on Culpepper's knowledge of the offense: "Culpepper didn't really know our offense because we don't even know it."

Running back Warrick Dunn on receiver Jacquez Green's 58-yard touchdown catch from Shaun King: "We don't know what's going to get called."

Middleton on the play of the offensive line: "You've got two Pro Bowlers on one side and you've just got a guy trying to make a buck on the other side, and we really wanted to show everybody we can be depended on just like our D-line can."

Middleton on not getting a break during the game: "I was tired. When I started to look at (center Jeff) Christy and (guard Randall) McDaniel standing on the sideline the last two quarters, I really got tired."

Middleton on how much he enjoyed the game: "It's fun when you can pick straws to see who can leave the game early."

Sapp on the noise from the end zone when the defense had the Bears pinned deep in their own territory: "North side's the best side."

Michael Jordan, after the game, outside Sapp's locker, surrounded by reporters and cameras: "Come on, man, you've talked enough. Now let's go eat."

Sapp: "I'm going, I'm going. Let me put my shoes on."

Jordan: "All you ever want to do is talk to everybody."

Sapp: "I learned from you."

Bryan Glazer, when asked if Jordan had jumped on the Bucs bandwagon like Spike Lee the week before: "I didn't ask him."

Bears quotebook

Quarterback Cade McNown on the Bucs defense: "I'm not going to stand here and say we only beat ourselves; they beat us today. They were in the right spot at the right time on a lot of plays. It's tough to face a team like that if you are unsure at all. They are 100 percent sure of what they are doing."

Coach Dick Jauron on his team's late first-half collapse: "It was obvious the game got away from us in the last three minutes of the first half. We didn't play particularly well up to that point, but to come in at halftime only down 9-0, you are all right. But all of a sudden it's 20-0 against a team as good as this and it snowballed."

Jauron on the loss: "The only consolation is it's a long season. It's not a sprint; it's a marathon."

Running back Curtis Enis, who ran for nine yards on his first carry and finished with 20 yards on 11 carries, on the Bucs defense: "It was all right. We ran the ball effectively early. I thought we ran on them well. I've always thought we could run on Tampa Bay."

Defensive tackle Brad Culpepper on his former teammates: "They are very sound. They capitalized on turnovers, made turnovers, flew around, played good defense. I've seen it for a long time over there."

Culpepper on interaction with his former teammates during the game: "I didn't really say much. Nobody said much."

Culpepper on any advice or inside information he might have given his new teammates about his old teammates: "That's all overrated. There's nothing I told anybody that they didn't already know or couldn't see on film."

Culpepper on if it was strange playing against former Vikings Randall McDaniel and Jeff Christy, who joined the Bucs offensive line this season: "It doesn't matter what color (uniforms they wear). They're two outstanding players, whether they're in purple or pewter."

Receiver Marcus Robinson on if he thought it was possible for a team to shut out the Bears: "No."

Culpepper on getting beaten soundly: "Any time you get beat that way, it's not much fun. We got beat that way when I played with the Bucs against the Oakland Raiders (45-0 last season)."

Kick returner Glyn Milburn on the Bucs defense: "As far as I can remember, we've had difficulty scoring touchdowns and scoring points against them. It's frustrating."

Receiver Bobby Engram on the Bucs defense: "They just try to make us play on a long field, and they did a good job of it. We weren't able to break loose and get any big plays or get anything downfield. They executed their game plan very well and we didn't."

Engram: "There are other teams that have better players in certain spots, but ... as a unit, I don't think anybody (in the NFL) plays this well."

Center Olin Kreutz: "I give them all the credit. Right now, there's nothing I can say bad about them."

Running back James Allen on the offense's struggles: "We gave them points, literally, with turnovers and miscues. The first half our defense played tremendous. On our side of the ball, we have to help them out."

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