The Bears got the ball first and predictably fed DJ Moore on the first play for a 16 yard gain. The Panthers defense tightened up there and forced a quick punt. The Panthers strung together a decent drive that was extended by two third down scrambles by Bryce Young, but the drive ultimately ended in its own punt, which Johnny Hekker masterfully pinned at the one yard line.
The Panthers defense held up again and forced another punt after one first down, and then the special teams came through again. Ihmir Smith-Marsette bobbed and weaved through the middle of the field before hitting the punter with a hesi and cruising into the endzone for the game’s first points.
The Bears rode D’Onta Foreman to the fringes of field goal range to get their first points from the foot of Cairo Santos. The second quarter ended with the Panthers within striking distance of the goal line after a 52 yard pass from Bryce Young to Mike Strachan and a powerful nine yard run by Chuba Hubbard.
The Panthers started the second quarter with three ineffective plays and settled for a field goal. The Amazon Prime broadcast elected to devote most of their coverage to talking to Jason Kelce about things unrelated to the game, and the game did a good job of not distracting them. Just about nothing happened save for one Bears drive that trudged just far enough for a field goal. The Panthers, meanwhile, picked up one first down across their two drives, and that was a result of a Bears penalty.
The Bears two minute drive to end the half got a jumpstart by a really, really questionable unnecessary roughness penalty. It ended with a third field goal, and the game went into the half with the Panthers up 10-9.
The Panthers kept up the ineffectiveness with the first drive of the second half, going three-and-out and then somehow committing a delay of game on the punt. The teams traded punts, and Hekker’s was not good, which allowed the Bears to take possession on the Panthers side of the field. The defense finally broke and allowed D’Onta Foreman to push his way into the endzone and put the Bears up 16-10.
The Panthers offense did more nothing, but they caught a break when the Bears punted the ball almost straight up the air and gave the Panthers the ball on the Bears 30. They capitalized by committing two straight penalties to start the drive, making it 1st and 30. A first down run shockingly did little to put a dent in that as the third quarter drew to a close.
The offense somehow managed to convert that 1st and 30 into a first down after Bryce Young found Tommy Tremble across the middle for an 11 yard gain on 4th and 6. That was the only first down they would get however, and another Pinerio field goal made the score 16-13 in favor of the Bears.
The defense forced another punt and got the Panthers the ball back with what ended up being one last shot with about seven minutes to play. Bryce Young picked up a couple of fourth down conversions, first with his legs then with his arm to Miles Sanders. The Panthers inexplicably used a timeout after an incomplete pass at one point, which would come back to bite them. After Young was nearly intercepted on third down, the Panthers elected to attempt a 59 yard field goal at the notoriously kicker-unfriendly confines of Soldier Field. Pineiro’s kick came up well short, and the Bears took over with less than two minutes left and the Panthers only having two timeouts to stop the clock. The Bears picked up one first down and iced the game.
It’s old hat at this point, but the Panthers are just bad on offense. The defense did their part and played really well. The offense is a continued combination of poor talent with uncreative and predictable play calling. They’ll get a few extra days off before playing the Dallas Cowboys in Week 11. Surely that will go better.