Buccaneers
Bears
31 - 34 Final
  for this game

Bears edge Bucs to clinch homefield advantage in playoffs

Dec 18, 2006 - 1:53 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- The Chicago Bears made sure the NFC's road to the Super Bowl will run through Soldier Field. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers nearly spoiled the party.

Robbie Gould kicked a 25-yard field goal late in overtime as the Bears held on for a wild 34-31 triumph over the Buccaneers.

With the victory, Chicago (12-2) clinched homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

"We got it done," said Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, who recorded a team-high 11 tackles. "We are happy we are going to be staying home for the playoffs."

"I am extremely proud of this team," quarterback Rex Grossman added. "We have battled a lot of tough games and blew some people out this year. Everyone in the NFC has to come to Chicago. It is a great advantage we want to make full use of to get to where we are going."

It seemed as if the win was a mere formality for the Bears, who built a 24-3 lead with 5:22 remaining in the third quarter. But the Buccaneers would not go down without a spirited fight as Tim Rattay threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter.

"They had momentum there at the end of the football game," said Chicago coach Lovie Smith, who opted for overtime rather than trying to score at the end of regulation. "We wanted to take that away and once we kicked the ball off, of course, we wanted to see the defense finish on a high note. We were able to gain momentum there."

After stumbling offensively throughout the overtime session, Chicago finally made a play when Grossman found Rashied Davis for a 28-yard reception on 3rd-and-8 to move the ball to the Tampa Bay 20.

"Making any catch is big," Davis said. "But to make a catch to set up to win a game is much more fun than getting some five-yard outs."

Gould, who missed a 37-yarder earlier in overtime, drilled his game-winner three plays later.

"You feel bad that you've let your teammates down when you miss and feel great when you make them," he said. "The biggest thing is I've got to go out there and get in a rhythm. I kicked great today. I had one bad kick, but that one bad kick can cost you a game."

Grossman finished 29-of-44 for 339 yards and two TDs to become the first Bears quarterback to throw for at least 300 yards since the 2002 season.

"Rex is a good football player," Smith said. "Of course he can throw the ball, so it's not like it was a total shock. It was good to see that he has put a couple good games together - getting his confidence back going into the playoffs."

Bears tight end Desmond Clark enjoyed an outstanding day, hauling in season highs of seven catches for 125 yards and two TDs.

"From week to week, you never know what the tight end position is going to have to do out on the football field," he said. "This week it was catching passes and trying to do some things in the pass game."

Rattay, who replaced rookie Bruce Gradkowski late in the first half, went 20-of-35 for 268 yards, one interception and three TDs for Tampa Bay (3-11), which has lost four straight and seven of its last eight.

"I thought (Rattay) did a good job," Bucs coach Jon Gruden said. "(It's a) tough situation. You're coming into the ballgame, you're behind, you're playing this defense on the road."

Chicago had the victory all but wrapped up when linebacker Lance Briggs knocked the ball loose from Tampa Bay tight end Alex Smith less than a minute into overtime. Defensive tackle Ian Scott recovered the ball at the Buccaneers 37, and a personal foul moved the ball up to the 22.

But Gould hooked a potential game-winner well left from 37 yards out, prolonging the contest.

"It was unexcusable on my part," Alex Smith said. "I was trying to get that extra yard. They made a good play. Fortunately, it didn't come down to that play."

The Bears owned a 31-17 lead with 6:13 remaining in regulation when Rattay found Joey Galloway for a 64-yard TD pass to cut the Bucs' deficit to seven.

Tampa Bay forged a 31-31 tie on its following possession when Rattay completed a short crossing pass to Ike Hilliard, who broke a pair of tackles en route to a 44-yard TD.








  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH
    --- --- --- ---
    TAMPA BAY 0 3 7 21
    CHICAGO 7 14 3 7
    OT TOTAL
    --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 0 31
    CHICAGO 3 34 FINAL IN OVERTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: CHI - TD, DESMOND CLARK 24 YD PASS FROM REX
    GROSSMAN (ROBB

    Dec 17 4:54 PM


  • NFL
    FG CHI
    ROBBIE GOULD 25 YD
    TAMPA BAY 31
    CHICAGO 34 3:37 LEFT, 1ST OT

    Buccaneers vs. BearsDec 17 4:54 PM
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  • NFL
    END, 4TH QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 0 3 7 21 31
    CHICAGO 7 14 3 7 31 GOING INTO OVERTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: CHI - TD, DESMOND CLARK 24 YD PASS FROM REX
    GROSSMAN (ROBBIE GOULD KICK), 7:18.
    Drive: 7 plays, 62 yards in 3:57.
    Key plays: Grossman 11-yard pass to
    Berrian to Tampa Bay 31. CHI

    Dec 17 4:23 PM
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    Buccaneers vs. BearsDec 17 4:14 PM


  • NFL
    TD TAM
    IKE HILLIARD 44 YD PASS FROM TIM RATTAY
    (MATT BRYANT KICK)
    TAMPA BAY 31
    CHICAGO 31 3:44 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Buccaneers vs. BearsDec 17 4:11 PM
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  • NFL
    TD TAM
    JOEY GALLOWAY 64 YD PASS FROM TIM RATTAY
    (MATT BRYANT KICK)
    TAMPA BAY 24
    CHICAGO 31 6:13 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Buccaneers vs. BearsDec 17 4:03 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 4 roots

    Buccaneers vs. BearsDec 17 4:03 PM


  • NFL
    TD CHI
    CEDRIC BENSON 4 YD RUN
    (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)
    TAMPA BAY 17
    CHICAGO 31 9:23 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Buccaneers vs. BearsDec 17 3:48 PM


  • NFL
    TD TAM
    ALEX SMITH 9 YD PASS FROM TIM RATTAY
    (MATT BRYANT KICK)
    TAMPA BAY 17
    CHICAGO 24 14:13 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Buccaneers vs. BearsDec 17 3:40 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 0 3 7 10
    CHICAGO 7 14 3 24 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: CHI - TD, DESMOND CLARK 24 YD PASS FROM REX
    GROSSMAN (ROBBIE GOULD KICK), 7:18.
    Drive: 7 plays, 62 yards in 3:57.
    Key plays: Grossman 11-yard pass to
    Berrian to Tampa Bay 31. CHICAGO
    7

    Dec 17 3:36 PM


  • NFL
    TD TAM
    MIKE ALSTOTT 14 YD RUN
    (MATT BRYANT KICK)
    TAMPA BAY 10
    CHICAGO 24 0:25 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Buccaneers vs. BearsDec 17 3:33 PM


  • NFL
    FG CHI
    ROBBIE GOULD 31 YD
    TAMPA BAY 3
    CHICAGO 24 5:22 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Buccaneers vs. BearsDec 17 3:19 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 0 3 3
    CHICAGO 7 14 21 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: CHI - TD, DESMOND CLARK 24 YD PASS FROM REX
    GROSSMAN (ROBBIE GOULD KICK), 7:18.
    Drive: 7 plays, 62 yards in 3:57.
    Key plays: Grossman 11-yard pass to
    Berrian to Tampa Bay 31. CHICAGO
    7-0
    2

    Dec 17 2:38 PM


  • NFL
    TD CHI
    DESMOND CLARK 12 YD PASS FROM REX GROSSMAN
    (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)
    TAMPA BAY 3
    CHICAGO 21 0:23 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Buccaneers vs. BearsDec 17 2:35 PM


  • NFL
    TD CHI
    THOMAS JONES 5 YD RUN
    (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)
    TAMPA BAY 3
    CHICAGO 14 3:58 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Buccaneers vs. BearsDec 17 2:16 PM


  • NFL
    FG TAM
    MATT BRYANT 45 YD
    TAMPA BAY 3
    CHICAGO 7 8:19 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Buccaneers vs. BearsDec 17 2:03 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 0 0
    CHICAGO 7 7 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: CHI - TD, DESMOND CLARK 24 YD PASS FROM REX
    GROSSMAN (ROBBIE GOULD KICK), 7:18.
    Drive: 7 plays, 62 yards in 3:57.
    Key plays: Grossman 11-yard pass to
    Berrian to Tampa Bay 31. CHICAGO
    7

    Dec 17 1:45 PM


  • NFL
    TD CHI
    DESMOND CLARK 24 YD PASS FROM REX GROSSMAN
    (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)
    TAMPA BAY 0
    CHICAGO 7 7:42 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Buccaneers vs. BearsDec 17 1:18 PM