The Bears defense did enough to stave off a struggling Carolina Panthers offense, and a missed Panthers field goal with 1:40 left clinched the game in a 16-13 win on “Thursday Night Football” at Soldier Field. Here’s what you need to know:
Three moments that mattered
1. No good: In an effort to tie the game at 16, former Bears kicker Eddy Piñeiro missed a 59-yard field goal wide left with 1:40 remaining in the game. The defense held strong on the Panthers’ last-ditch effort, and the Bears got the best of both worlds: a win (for their sake) and a Panthers loss to help their draft pick the Bears received from Carolina last year.
2. Some mojo: Bears running back D’Onta Foreman cashed in on a 4-yard touchdown run with 6:33 remaining in the third quarter. While the offense wasn’t the cleanest, the Bears finally capped off a non-field goal scoring drive to take the 16-10 lead.
3. Inching closer: With 1:12 left in the first half, the Bears engineered a nine-play drive to put themselves in field goal position. Two DJ Moore catches and a 13-yard Cole Kmet grab eventually led to Cairo Santos’ third field goal to make it 10-9 Carolina at the break.
Three things that worked
1. Bear’d down: The defense made life difficult for the Panthers’ offense, holding it to a field goal, limiting Carolina to 3-of-14 on third down and stopping Carolina’s drive on third down leading to a 59-yard field goal by Piñeiro that fell very short. The Panthers had 43 combined rushing yards, and Young was a pedestrian 21-of-38 passing for 185 yards.
2. Finally: The Bears’ defense broke a two-game streak of no sacks with three on Young. Justin Jones and Yannick Ngakoue got home, as well as Rasheem Green with his own in the fourth quarter. It’s the third multisack game of the season for the Bears. For a defense that’s been the bottom of the league in sacks, this was a game to take advantage of an offensive line that has struggled for Carolina; not to mention the quarterback, too.
3. Santos: Already a reliable kicker, Cairo Santos knocked in all the Bears’ points in the first half with three field goals to make him 13 of 14 on field goals for the season.
Three things that didn’t
1. Bagent Time: It’s time for Justin Fields to be back. Bagent limited the mistakes and turnovers, but the Bears’ offense didn’t muster much against a defense missing its top pass-rusher and corner. The offensive line allowed no sacks. Bagent wasn’t terrible. He wasn’t good, either. Bagent finished 20 of 33 for 162 yards and no touchdowns.
2. Bear on (former) Bear crime: Former Bears wideout Ihmir Smith-Marsette returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown for a 7-0 Carolina lead with 5:46 left in the first quarter. Bears gunner Josh Blackwell missed the initial tackle and Smith-Marsette was able to dance his way through missed tackles. It was Smith-Marsette’s first career punt return for a score to give Carolina initial momentum. Missed tackles continue to plague this team in big moments.
3. Clean it up: Penalties, again, are an issue. This week, it was seven for 49 yards. The Panthers are in rough shape, but these are things that matter more against good teams.
The Bears visit the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on Nov. 19. Kickoff is at noon.