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Much ado was made about Julius Peppers' returning home to play for the first time since signing with the Bears. After all, he had been a North Carolinian for 30 years. Would he be able to handle the pressure, the boos and the mean taunts from fans?
That answer is an unqualified yes.
Peppers made big plays, including a sack/interception combo that should land on his all-time highlight reel. Peppers hit a pass from Carolina's rookie quarterback, Jimmy Clausen, forcing the ball to fly in the air. From his knees, Peppers followed the ball and snatched it before any Panthers could get at it. From this turnover, the Bears scored a field goal.
After that play, the fans at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte shared their displeasure with Peppers, letting boos rain down from the rafters. They also held up signs call Peppers a "Judas." Peppers didn't care. He simply lifted his fingers to his lips, shooshing the crowd. That one gesture showed an emotional side of Peppers that Bears fans had yet to see.
But an aspect of Peppers play that Bears fans have gotten used to is how he improves the people around him. Israel Idonije, playing on the other end of the D-line, made three sacks against the Panthers. Why? The Panthers focused their coverage on Peppers and the right side. This allowed the left side to have free rein over quarterback Jimmy Clausen.
Peppers fit in perfectly with the Bears, making the team better. We can see why Carolina fans were upset when he left. Boo him all you want, Panther fans. The man is doing well in his new home.