Facing a 5-1 Bears team in Chicago, in a game they had no business being in, the Panthers very nearly came away with a victory. For the 5th time this season Carolina lost by less than a TD. This time it was just a 1 point game, 23-22. These moral victories are getting very old. Carolina should have won this game handily. They outgained Chicago by over 200 yards. The controlled the ball for an extra 14 minutes. They even won the turnover battle 3-2. They jumped out to 19-7 lead through three quarters, before being outscored 16-3 in the fourth.
So what happened? Carolina couldn’t finish. They scored just one TD, and that was a fumble recovery in the end zone. Other than that, Justin Medlock had busy day. He went 5 for 5 kicking field goals, great day for him, but a telling sign of the offensive woes in Chicago territory. Three of his field goals were in the redzone, with one only 22 yards out. Cam Newton had over 300 yards passing, but no touchdowns and two picks really overshadowed the yardage. Jonathan Stewart’s first go as a feature back didn’t go amazing. He had 17 carries but managed only 42 yards. He did add 4 catches for 38 yards. Williams, on the other hand, still had 33 yards on 11 carries, so he isn’t exactly being weened out of the offense.
The defense for the most part played pretty solid. They game up just over 200 yards of total offense. Jay Cutler, playing with bruised ribs, hit the ground on several occasions. He ended up being sacked a total of 6 times. Greg Hardy had an outstanding game. He totaled 3 sacks, 2 more TFL, and 3 QB hits. He was all over the backfield, driving Culter down several times. Charles Johnson added 2 more sacks, and Dwan Edwards one more. If the Panthers played Chicago every game their pass rush wouldn’t have a problem. Cutler also threw one pick, and had just 186 yards. The rushing game was decent, but never saw enough action to really hurt the Panthers.
The Bears were able to get into the endzone, which the Panthers could not. Cutler threw one TD, Matt Forte had a rushing score in the first. To cap it all off Tim Jennings took a pick 25 yards out into the endzone. To end the game though, it was a 41 yard FG by Robbie Gould for the win.
The Panthers fall to 1-6. They will look to end their 5 game losing streak at Washington next Sunday.