Confusion was bound to reign in Sunday's Bears-Tampa Bay game.
After all, the teams feature three prominent players with the last name of Thomas, three Andersons and two Davises.
By the time you get that straightened out, consider that each team has a Mark Carrier and a Tim Ryan. Only the Carriers are related.
Anyway, during the game, it was Tampa Bay doing most of the name-calling; the Bucs were whistled for three unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties. But it was the Bears (2-0) emerging with a 21-20 victory in the Tampa Stadium open sauna. Tampa Bay (0-2) lost kicking and screaming in front of 62,409 fans roasting in 90-degree heat.
Linebacker Broderick Thomas, nephew of Bears linebacker Mike Singletary, was penalized once for kicking rookie offensive tackle Stan Thomas. Later, defensive end Dexter Manley, a registered villain, got nailed for shooting off his mouth to an official.
"They were doing a lot of talking," Stan Thomas said. "Dexter Manley came in and gave me a mouthful. He said: 'No matter how good you play, you're still a rookie.' I kind of laughed about it.
"Then we started getting after it. He was coming after me, and I was coming after him."
Broderick Thomas also hurt his team's chances to win by pushing Bears guard Jerry Fontenot on his fanny after being drawn offside.
"That was totally blatant there," Stan Thomas said. "Then (Bears center) Jay Hilgenberg came in and knocked him. I came in and tried to do something. It didn't get as bad as I thought. I thought the benches might clear."
The Bears, who are now 21-2 in September over the last six seasons, have an early hold on the NFC Central Division. They host the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants (1-1) next Sunday.
"I saw the play where Broderick Thomas kicked Stan, and that was just ridiculous," Hilgenberg said. "When he gets a little older, he'll realize it. And the time he jacked up Jerry (Fontenot) like that, he evidently doesn't know the rule that when a lineman flinches and the whistle blows, the play is over. That was very flagrant, I thought."
The mistake-filled contest featured the Bears committing four turnovers, including two fumbles by Pro Bowl running back Neal Anderson.
"I get paid too much money. Anybody can go out there and drop it on the ground," said Anderson, playing in front of family and fans from his native state.
Punt returner Johnny Bailey also lost a fumble, and quarterback Jim Harbaugh threw his first interception.
"When you can win a football game when you turn it over four times, the defense must have done something right," Bears coach Mike Ditka said. "There is no way we could have won the game without their inspired play."
The Bears recorded seven sacks, including two each from linebacker John Roper, end Richard Dent and tackle Steve McMichael. End Trace Armstrong also added a sack.
Harbaugh completed 13 of 20 passes for 153 yards and two TDs.
"When they stop the running game, the pressure kind of shifts to the passing game," Harbaugh said. "I think we've got a good passing game. Greg (Landry) is doing a good job calling the plays, and the receivers did a lot of good things."
The Bears were limited to 100 yards rushing, only 35 by Anderson on 17 carries.
"When you don't run the ball with the running backs we have, there is a reason: You're not blocking," Ditka said. "I give them credit. They played very good against the run. But we've got to do better."
The Bucs took a 3-0 lead in the opening minutes, capitalizing on a Bears turnover. Anderson fumbled after being hit by Broderick Thomas, who recovered at the Bears 19. Four plays later, Tampa Bay took an early lead on a 31-yard field goal by Steve Christie.
The Bears gained a 7-3 lead after a seven-play, 75-yard drive, aided by two offsides penalties and a personal foul by Broderick Thomas. Anderson scored on a 12-yard touchdown run. It was the eighth straight game Anderson has scored against the Bucs.
Tampa Bay quickly retaliated with its own Anderson.
Gary Anderson had returned Kevin Butler's short kickoff 22 yards to the 36-yard line. Then, on the first play from scrimmage, he took off on the right side, eluding Ron Rivera and Lemuel Stinson and outrunning Mark Carrier on an electrifying 64-yard touchdown scamper.
"The guy made a great run," Singletary said. "For whatever reason, everybody just got sealed inside and he was able to get outside. He just made some great athletic moves upfield."
The Bears took advantage of more mental miscues and penalties by Tampa Bay to regain the lead 14-10 with 8:08 left in the half. A 69-yard drive ended with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Harbaugh to Anderson.
An 18-yard pass to Tom Waddle and a 13-yard run by Anderson keyed the drive, which included the unnecessary-roughness call when Thomas shoved Fontenot before the snap from center.
"I thought the referees called the game well," Ditka said. "They were pretty good calls. I mean, you can't hit the quarterback late, and you can't pile on.
"They (the Bucs) gave us three unsportsmanlike penalties in the game, which was kind of silly on their part. Without those penalties, I don't know if we would have had the ball in the end zone in the beginning."
Christie added a 36-yard field goal with two minutes left in the half to pull the Bucs to within 14-13.
The Bears' first drive of the second half ended with a 43-yard TD pass from Harbaugh to Wendell Davis for a 21-13 lead.
Every time the Bucs seemed to be in position to threaten the Bears, they self-destructed. Quarterback Vinny Testaverde fumbled on the Bears 23 with 12:52 left after Ron Cox hit him and John Mangum recovered.
But Anderson lost his second fumble with 6:24 left and Eugene Marve recovered.
Testaverde strained his knee and bruised his shoulder after a late hit from Tim Ryan in the fourth quarter. Ryan contended the late hit was unintentional.
Backup Chris Chandler tossed a 15-yard TD pass to Bruce Hill to make it 21-20 with 3:30 to play.
"It was a game that was crazy," Ditka said. "I mean, there was no field position at all at the beginning of the game. They did a good job of kicking the ball.
"I'm happy with the win, but . . . I understand basics, and I understand what it takes. Right now, we're not there. We're not on Page 1 yet. I mean, we're way back in the comics section at this point."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times