Rapid Recap: Bears take down Panthers in primetime 2023.

The Bears defeated the Panthers 16–13 on Thursday night at Soldier Field thanks to a solid defensive effort and a touchdown by D’Onta Foreman.

The Bears defense allowed only 213 total yards and 12 first downs, had three sacks, and kept Carolina without a touchdown.

Halfway through the third quarter, Foreman ran 4 yards for the game’s lone offensive touchdown, giving the Bears a 16-10 advantage. It happened on a drive that had begun at the Panthers’ 38, following a three-and-out inside Carolina’s 10 by the defense.

Early in the fourth quarter, Eddy Piñeiro made a 39-yard field goal to trim the score to 16–13, but with 1:35 left in the game, his potentially game-tying 59-yard try was badly missed.

The Bears moved to 3-7 with the win and have gone 3-3 since their 0-4 start.

Coach Matt Eberflus stated, “I really thought that we played some good complementary football.” “I thought our defense did a great job most of the day creating some short fields for our offense, and that was good.” We took advantage of a few of them. That type of game it was. Today’s defenses were both strong. Overall, I believe we handled it effectively and set ourselves up to win the match.”

The Bears offense played a spotless game last Sunday, allowing no sacks and committing no turnovers after giving up five last Sunday in their defeat to the Saints. In lieu of the injured Justin Fields, quarterback Tyson Bagent made his fourth consecutive start and completed 20 of 33 passes for 162 yards and a passing rating of 73.0.

“He is always done a really good job of preventing sacks through the course or the four games that he’s played,” Eberflus stated. “What he did well right now is he did not place the ball throughout harm’s way while offering us a chance to win.”

The Bears offense was led by two former Panthers: DJ Moore caught five catches for a game-high 58 yards and Foreman ran for 80 yards on 21 touches.

With sacks from ends Rasheem Green and Yannick Ngakoue and tackle Justin Jones, the Bears defensive line consistently applied pressure on quarterback Bryce Young. Finish Three quarterback hits were registered by Montez Sweat.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette’s 79-yard punt return touchdown early in the first quarter gave the Panthers a 7-0 lead. In order to score his first career return touchdown, Smith-Marsette, who appeared in six games for the Bears the previous season, broke three tackles.

After a 54-yard field goal by Cairo Santos, the Bears’ lead was reduced to 7-3. It happened after a false start on Cody Whitehair rendered Santos’ apparent 49-yard touchdown ineffective.

Early in the second quarter, Pineiro’s 33-yard field goal gave Carolina a 10-3 lead. Young’s 45-yard pass to receiver Mike Strachan at the Chicago 26 set up the kick.

Santos responded by making two more field goals, a 36-yarder with 2:06 remaining in the half and a 39-yarder with the clock running out, bringing the Bears to within 10–9. Bagent had just 1:12 to craft a 9-play, 70-yard drive before the second one.

“I’m certainly proud of the guys the way they handled the end of the half,” stated Eberflus. “You did an excellent job with the two minutes down there. Bagent performed admirably in that regard.”

Two three-and-outs were forced by the Bears defense to start the second half. The Bears led 16–10 after the second quarter thanks to a 4-yard touchdown run by Foreman. Three quarters of 6:33 remained to score the first offensive touchdown of the game.

With 11:06 remaining in the fourth quarter, Piñeiro’s 30-yard field goal brought the Panthers closer to 16-13. Gordon stopped Young’s third-down ball intended for receiver Terrace Marshall Jr., which would have led to a first down and the kick. In the contest, Gordon also tallied eight tackles and two tackles-for-loss.

Following Pineiro’s last-second mistake, the Bears used their time to their advantage, and on third-and-7 from the Carolina 48, Bagent’s 8-yard toss to Darnell Mooney sealed the victory.

Eberflus provided an explanation for the Bears’ decision to throw on the play rather than run the ball.

“If you decide to run at that time, you’re likely to have a punt plus pin and they’re going to have 1:10 with no time outs and potentially on the 10-yard line if we punt it right,” Eberflus stated.

“We felt the play call was good. After talking about it, we took action. We did a good job at it. Mooney made a stunning grab. He won the game by going one yard beyond the stick. Excellent play call from Luke [Getsy]. The O-line, the entire offense, Mooney on the catch, and Bagent on the pass all performed admirably.”


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