TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Baker Mayfield passed for 317 yards and a touchdown Sunday, adding to his strong debut with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a 27-17 victory over the struggling Chicago Bears.
With Mayfield playing turnover-free ball for the second straight week and Mike Evans catching six balls for 171 yards and a TD, the Bucs improved to 2-0 while handing the Bears a franchise-record 12th consecutive loss.
Mayfield completed 26 of 34 passes, looking quite comfortable in another new home. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft is playing with his fourth team in just over two years.
He set up Rachaad White's 1-yard TD run with a 70-yard completion to Evans in the first quarter. He also finished an 89-yard drive with a 32-yard scoring pass to Tampa Bay's all-time leading receiver early in the second half.
Tampa Bay's defense did its job, too, after yielding a 75-yard TD drive on Chicago's first possession of the game. The Buccaneers sacked Justin Fields six times and picked him off twice.
The Bears (0-2) closed to 20-17 on Chase Claypool's 20-yard TD catch, but saw any hope for a comeback fade when Fields — throwing out of his own end zone — tossed an interception that Bucs linebacker Shaquil Barrett returned 4 yards for a clinching TD.
Mayfield, who spent his first four seasons with Cleveland before splitting 2022 between Carolina and the Los Angeles Rams, shrugged off a slow start to throw for 173 yards and two touchdowns without a turnover to beat Minnesota 20-17 on the road in the season opener.
The Bucs started more smoothly against the Bears, driving 77 yards in 12 plays to take an early 3-0 lead on Chase McLaughlin's 26 -yard field goal. Mayfield drove his team to another field goal in the closing seconds of the second quarter for a 13-10 halftime lead.
Fields completed 16 of 29 passes for 211 yards. DJ Moore, acquired in the offseason in a bid to put more playmakers around Chicago's young quarterback, had six receptions for 104 yards, but the Bears were limited to just 67 yards rushing.
Bears: Lost starting safeties Jaquan Brisker (illness) and Eddie Jackson (foot) on consecutive plays in the first quarter.
Buccaneers: Played without two defensive starters, CB Carlton Davis III (toe) and DL Calijah Kancey (calf), who were inactive. Backup RB Chase Edmonds (knee) left in the second quarter and did not return.
Bears: Travel to Kansas City to face Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs.
Buccaneers: Remain home, hosting defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles next Monday night.
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Fred Goodall, The Associated Press