Their offense didn't make it easy late in the game, but the Chicago Bears managed to hold off the Carolina Panthers in a 23-16 victory in Charlotte on Sunday afternoon.
Nick Foles threw for 198 yards and a touchdown, and the Bears' quarterback rushed for another score. Cairo Santos made three field goals in the game, including a career-long 55-yard strike in the victory.
The Bears got off to a fast start on defense, as Bilal Nichols picked up a sack and Tashaun Gipson intercepted Teddy Bridgewater to set the Bears up deep in the red zone. After a bumbling sequence that saw the Bears call a timeout and take a delay of game penalty, Foles was able to find Kmet in the end zone for the touchdown, giving Chicago a 7-0 lead early in the contest.
Carolina’s next drive was much more successful, as the Panthers rolled out a 14-play, 72 yard drive to move the ball down the field. The Bears’ defense was able to keep them out of the end zone, but Joey Slye knocked through a short 21-yard field goal to make it a 7-3 game after a quarter of play.
The entire second quarter saw the two defenses in a strict “bend but don’t break mode,” and as a result the only points scored in the frame were field goals. Both Cairo Santos and Slye made short field goals in the frame, then Santos bombed in a career-long 55-yard field goal attempt with just seven seconds remaining in the half to give the Bears a 13-6 lead at the break.
The Bears had not scored a single point in the third quarter of a game yet this season, but that finally changed on a lengthy scoring drive late in that stanza. Darnell Mooney, Cordarrelle Patterson and Allen Robinson all made key catches for the Bears, and after a David Montgomery rushing touchdown was overturned on review, Foles dove into the end zone to put the Bears in front by a 20-6 margin.
The Bears’ defense then lost its sense of discipline as the game moved to the third quarter, committing penalties on three straight plays. Jaylon Johnson then got flagged for pass interference near the goal line, and Mike Davis plunged into the end zone to give Carolina some life as he trimmed the deficit to 20-13.
The field goal kickers once again took center stage as the fourth quarter wore on, with Santos knocking in his third field goal of the game with 9:23 remaining. Slye returned the favor with a 48-yard field goal of his own, keeping the Panthers within seven points with less than eight minutes remaining in the game.
The Panthers got the ball back late in the contest, but on a fourth-and-two play coming out of the two minute warning, DJ Moore dropped what would have been an incredible one-handed catch, giving the Bears the ball back.
The Bears went three and out on their drive, but DeAndre Houston-Carson picked off Bridgewater on Carolina's final offensive play, giving Chicago the victory.
The Bears will have an extra day of prep in the coming week before facing the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football on Oct. 26.