Harassed Simms Impresses Bears
Ira Kaufman, The Tampa Tribune, published 28 November 2005

The next time Steve Young even thinks about assessing the toughness of Chris Simms, he should check with Jon Gruden. Tampa Bay's third-year quarterback took another important step in his development Sunday, learning painful lessons along the way in a 13-10 loss to the Bears. The NFL's top-rated defense kept coming after Simms, sacking him four times and forcing an early turnover that forged a 7-0 lead. "I've got to admit I was pretty impressed with their quarterback," Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs said. "He made some throws on us and he didn't make a lot of big mistakes."

But he made one. Right defensive end Alex Brown stripped Simms on Tampa Bay's third snap and teammate Tommie Harris recovered at the Bucs 1-yard line. Chicago scored on the next play and Simms found himself trailing a nasty defense that is threatening the record-low 165 points allowed by the 2000 Ravens. "We played Carolina a few weeks ago and I didn't think there could be a defensive line or defense altogether that could be that good," said Simms. "The Bears probably proved me wrong today."

Although Young questioned Simms' resolve last week, the Bears walked away rather impressed after the young left-hander completed eight of 10 pass attempts in the fourth quarter for 81 yards. "The comeback that Chris Simms engineered in the last couple possessions was one I will be most proud of in my relationship with him," Gruden said. "They were tremendous. He is very poised. I thought he managed the offense tremendously, running back-to-back drives."

The first march, which started with good field position (50) for a change, was capped by Mike Alstott's 2-yard dive that pulled the Bucs within a field goal midway through the fourth quarter. Following a Chicago punt, Simms took possession at his 31.

When Joey Galloway turned a simple hitch into a 30-yard gain, Tampa Bay was on the move again. A 16-yard strike to Galloway led to Matt Bryant's 29-yard field goal attempt that missed wide right. "I've got to give Cadillac Williams some credit -- he ran hard today," said Harris, "and I thought Simms showed some poise. We were on the kid pretty much all day but he never lost his confidence."