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PRO FOOTBALL : Bears Make Winner of Wannstedt : NFC: Turnovers help Chicago beat Tampa Bay, 47-17, giving rookie coach his first victory.

September 27, 1993|From Associated Press

CHICAGO — The Chicago Bears finally started forcing turnovers and the result was Dave Wannstedt's first victory as coach.

The Bears repeatedly cashed in on mistakes Sunday for a 47-17 victory over the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Bears (1-2), who intercepted no passes and recovered only one fumble in their first two losses, intercepted four passes and recovered three fumbles against the Buccaneers.

"The turnovers were the difference," Wannstedt said. "They gave us good field position, and when we got good field position we scored some points."

The Bears turned three of the fumbles into touchdowns and two interceptions into field goals.

The Bears scored four touchdowns during the second quarter, including two in a span of 23 seconds with Jim Harbaugh connecting on touchdown pass plays of 25 yards to Ryan Wetnight and 17 yards to Tom Waddle.

"We got some breaks in the second quarter and we were able to covert them," said Harbaugh, who completed 17 of 22 passes for 192 yards and scored on a one-yard touchdown run. "I felt the team was ready to play and it showed."

Neal Anderson gained 104 yards in 23 carries for the Bears, his first 100-yard regular-season game since 1990 and first since the 1991 playoffs against New Orleans.

"The first win is a great feeling, but we can't put too much on it," Anderson said. "We're only 1-2 and have a long way to go."

The Buccaneers (0-3), who averaged 35 yards rushing in their first two losses, managed 36 against the Bears.

Tampa Bay scored a touchdown on the final play of the first half on a desperation 62-yard pass play from Craig Erickson to Lamar Thomas, cutting the lead to 28-10.

"We got outplayed today," said Erickson, who completed 13 of 32 passes for 240 yards but had two passes intercepted. "I personally would have liked to play better. Offensively, we were a little disappointed."

The Bears' easiest touchdown resulted from a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter. Erickson fumbled when he was hit by Ron Cox and Myron Baker picked up the ball. Baker ran eight yards for a touchdown and a 41-10 lead.

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