Following last week’s embarrassing loss to the New York Giants, the Bears needed a huge bounce back in order to right the ship sort to speak. Their opponent this week, the Carolina Panthers, was just what the doctor ordered for a team looking to get back on the winning track. The Panthers came into this game 0-4 on the season and their most dangerous offensive weapon, wide-receiver, Steve Smith, sidelined with an injury. The Bears however, had their own problems as their offensive line gave up 10 sacks last week and Jay Cutler was ruled out due to a concussion. As a result, back-up Todd Collins would get the call, making only his fifth start in 13 years.
Despite the their precarious situation coming into this game, the Bears would respond in the most unlikeliest of ways, with the running game. Matt Forte, who rushed for a career high with 166 yards, gave Chicago its first score with a 14-yard touchdown run staking the Bears out to an early 7-0 lead. After the Panthers would pull within 7-3, Forte struck again this time with a 68-yard touchdown run giving the Bears a 14-3 lead and Gould would tack on a field goal following a Julius Peppers’ interception giving the Bears a 17-3 cushion in the opening quarter and the score would remain that way going into intermission.
Both teams could only manage field goals in the second half and the Bears would come away with 23-6 win improving the 4-1 on the season while the Panthers remain winless at 0-5. The Bears were victorious thanks to the ground attack but the passing game was forgettable as Todd Collins completed only 6 passes on 16 attempts for a poultry 32 yards to go along with a game-high, 4 interceptions. On the positive side, the Bears’ defense did force three turnovers to along with five sacks which were key because Chicago had only recorded four sacks through the first four games combined.
While the victory over the Panthers was not a pretty one, the team did show that it was capable of beating a less talented opponent on a day where they were far from hitting on all cylinders. Unfortunately, the game also proved that the Bears are just one injury away from being a very mediocre team. While Cutler should return to the lineup next week, the Bears need to think about shoring up the backup position because they can ill afford to have a performance like that against the better teams in the league and expect to win consistently.
Fox Sports (Viewed Game)