The Chicago Bears got to open their preseason at Soldier Field on Thursday night, but home cooking didn’t taste too sweet as they fell 23-13 to the Carolina Panthers.
Elijah Holyfield rushed for 26 yards and scored a touchdown on the ground, and he also hauled in two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown through the air. Will Grier threw for 77 yards and a touchdown for the victorious Panthers.
For the Bears, Chase Daniel had a strong day, throwing for 120 yards and completing 11-of-13 passes. Rookie running back David Montgomery rushed for 16 yards and a touchdown in his preseason debut, and had 30 rushing yards.
Local product Ian Bunting had a big day, catching three passes for 77 yards in his preseason debut. Thomas Ives caught three passes for 28 yards, and was targeted three times.
The Bears found themselves down 6-0 early in the second quarter after a pair of field goals by Joey Slye, but managed to put together a 6-play, 49 yard touchdown drive to take the lead with about seven minutes to go in the first half. Montgomery rushed the ball in from seven yards out to tie things up at 6-6, and Elliott Fry made his extra point to give the Bears a 7-6 edge.
Fry knocked through a 43-yard field goal to make it a 10-6 game just before half, but the Bears couldn’t hold the lead after the break. Holyfield caught a 7-yard pass for a touchdown early in the third quarter to give the Panthers a 13-10 lead, and Slye made another field goal later in the frame to make it a 16-10 game.
Eddy Pineiro made a 23-yard field goal about halfway through the fourth quarter to get the Bears within three points, but they couldn’t complete the comeback, as Holyfield rushed in an 11-yard touchdown carry with 1:41 remaining in the game to seal the victory.
The Bears will next take the field a week from Thursday when they battle the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.