Emma: Observations from Bears-Buccaneers

Khalil Mack and the Bears frustrated future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady.
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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- Finally, the Bears beat future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady.

The Bears pulled through with a late field goal from Cairo Santos, beating Brady and his Buccaneers, 20-19, at Soldier Field on Thursday night.

Here are my observations from the press box.

'Blood in the water'
Late in the game, Brady picked himself up off the Soldier Field sod and stormed to the east sideline of Soldier Field to let his teammates have it.

Brady was caught on the national broadcast yelling at the Buccaneers' blockers, who let him get battered by the Bears. The 43-year-old Brady was sacked three times -- twice by star edge rusher Khalil Mack -- and hurried on eight occasions. He struggled to lead a replacement supporting cast to Tampa Bay's usual efficiency and success.

The game's greatest winner was rattled by the Bears.

"We smelled a little blood in the water," Mack said.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Bears released an injury report that listed Mack as being fully healthy. It was notable because he had been limited in each practice this season and marked as questionable to play each game. His improved health showed Thursday.

Mack was relentless in his pursuit of Brady, and the Bears followed. He registered three hurries. Bilal Nichols posted a pair of hurries, and Roy Robertson-Harris, James Vaughters and Mario Edwards each had one.

The Buccaneers weren't at full health offensively. Star receiver Mike Evans wasn't himself as an ankle injury hampered his mobility. Receiver Chris Godwin was inactive, and running back Leonard Fournette was sidelined. Brady was forced to target receiver Tyler Johnson six times and receiver Jaydon Mickens twice.

The Bears made Brady uncomfortable with constant pressure and tight coverage of receivers limited in health or experience.

When Brady and the Buccaneers turned the ball over on downs on their final drive -- the Bears having sealed their 20-19 win -- he looked to the officials believing that play was third down instead of fourth. A six-time Super Bowl champion, Brady was out of sorts.

"Any time you can frustrate Tom Brady, it’s a great day," Bears quarterback Nick Foles said. "And our defense did that today. He started out a little hot, but I could tell, I’ve been told he got a little frustrated. Obviously he’s an extremely talented player, but I was really proud of our defense and what they did."

Foles adjusts
When the Bears made the quarterback switch from Mitchell Trubisky to Foles on Sept. 27, they had seen enough of poor throws stalling drives. Early in this game, Foles showcased the same trouble and raised concerns.

Foles misfired on a deep ball to rookie receiver Darnell Mooney on the first play of the second quarter, botching a play that could've gone for a touchdown. He was later intercepted on a poor throw to top receiver Allen Robinson, who couldn't corral the ball and deflected it up for the pick.

But Foles soon settled in, finding his command leading the Bears' offense with short and intermediate throws that allowed him to develop a rhythm. He led two touchdown drives late in the second quarter, rallying the Bears from an early funk offensively.

"That's who he is," coach Matt Nagy said.

Foles was 30-of-42 for 243 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Part of why Foles recovered from a poor start could be credited to Nagy's play-calling.

Though Foles and Nagy previously worked together in Philadelphia and Kansas City, Nagy had never called plays for Foles.

"We're continuing to grow together," Foles said. "This is something that doesn't happen overnight, and I felt like today was a big one because it's a fist fight. It wasn't an easy game by any means. We just kept fighting, kept fighting and everyone kept throwing punches and I'd say the big thing from tonight was we got to learn how to go through a fist fight like this and come out on top.

"Just continue to gain that rhythm, because this is my first time with a lot of these guys and a lot of these coaches. This is the first time they've seen me in one of these games and the first time I've seen them. Tonight was a big night of learning."

Ball!
The Bears needed a game-changing play late in the first half, and cornerback Kyle Fuller delivered it.

With 1:37 remaining in the second quarter, Fuller lowered the shoulder and delivered a vicious -- and clean -- hit on Buccaneers running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn that forced a fumble. The Bears took over possession at the Buccaneers' 27-yard line, and Foles led them to the end zone in four plays, hitting tight end Jimmy Graham for a 12-yard score.

After falling behind 13-0, the Bears went into halftime with a 14-13 lead. Fuller's play proved to be pivotal in the one-point win.

"It's always a boost when we get turnovers," Mack said. "That's just the mindset of this group, man. It's everybody going after the ball and trying to make a play. We made the play tonight."

Run the football
Over and over again, Nagy has said the Bears need to run the football more.

The Bears rushed 14 times for 35 yards on Thursday and had their first touchdown on the ground this season. David Montgomery carried 10 times for 29 yards and that touchdown. Just like in a loss to the Colts last Sunday, Nagy seemed to be deterred from consistently running the ball against a stout run defense from the Buccaneers.

"There’s going to be zero abandoning of the run because it hasn’t been successful the last few weeks, I promise you that," Nagy said.

Until Nagy can commit to the running game, the Bears' offense will likely continue to sputter.

Extra points
-- With the game on the line, a kicker came through for the Bears. Santos delivered the game-winning 37-yard field goal with 1:13 remaining in regulation. The 27-year-old Santos is in his second stint with the Bears and his fifth team in seven seasons. He's making the most of this opportunity.

“It’s amazing," Santos said. "Sometimes it just shocks me the way careers and stories happen. I got released last year (by the Titans) in the fifth game of the season on a bad game and here we are with a chance to play against my former team. As an athlete, you always want to have that. I used to watch soccer players have big games against their former teams. There is something special about it.”

-- The Bears' victory came with a tough loss on the individual front. Third-year guard James Daniels suffered a pectoral injury that's feared to be a season-ending tear, NFL Media first reported. Alex Bars, a second-year reserve out of Notre Dame, stepped in for Daniels. Bars is the next man up at left guard if Daniels is indeed lost for an extended period of time.

-- In the third quarter, Mack sacked Brady and then threw rookie tackle Tristan Wirfs to the the ground. Wirfs had grabbed onto Mack and appeared ready to take him down. Instead, it was Mack who flipped the 320-pound Wirfs to the ground. "He was holding onto me, and I had to get him off," Mack said.

-- The Bears faced a great deal of criticism when they signed the 33-year-old Graham back in March. He appeared to be past his prime. But Graham has served as a a key red-zone weapon for the Bears and had his fourth touchdown catch in five games Thursday. Graham looks like a tremendous fit for the Bears early on.

-- Brady was 5-0 all time against the Bears entering Thursday. He first beat the Bears in 2002, when Dick Jauron led them. He handed them during the 2006 regular season, after which the Bears advanced to the Super Bowl. He pounded them in 2010 and again in 2014, then won once more in 2018. That changed Thursday.

-- The Bears are 4-1 for the first time since 2012. They finished 10-6 that season, narrowly missed the playoffs and then firing coach Lovie Smith.

-- It's hard to imagine the Bears showcasing vast improvement, but they believe it can happen.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images