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The Chicago Bears squeezed past the Carolina Panthers 23-22 to improve to 6-1 and 4-0 at Soldier Field.
Running back Matt Forte took the lead early in the first quarter on a 13 yard rushing touchdown. Forte had 70 yards on 15 rushes along with his one touchdown. Forte also caught five passes for 24 yards.
In the 2nd quarter, after a Jay Cutler fumble the Carolina Panthers responded; Cam Newton scrambled and dove in the end-zone but was hit and fumbled. Luckily the ball was recovered by Louis Murphy for the touchdown to go ahead 10-7.
The Panthers took advantage of Chicago’s weak offensive line and sacked Jay Cutler six times in the first half. Panthers kicker, Justin Medlock kicked three consecutive field goals to pull ahead 19-7.
In the 4th quarter, Jay Cutler put the Bears back on board. Cutler and tight-end Kellen Davis connected on a 12 yard-pass for his only reception of the day. The touchdown cut the Bears deficit to 19-14.
On the ensuing drive, on 1st and 10 on Carolinas 20 yard-line Newton dropped back to hit wideout Steve Smith who slipped, Tim Jennings jumped the rout and intercepted the pass to take it back for seven and give the Bears the late 20-19 lead. Jennings recorded two interceptions, a total of six on the year.
The Panthers almost responded with an incredible catch by Smith, but the veteran was unable to hang onto the ball. As a result, Medlock kicked a 45 yard field goal off the goal pole to go back ahead 22-20.
Cutler and Brandon Marshall connected four times on the final drive to help push the Bears into field goal range. On 2nd and 7 with four seconds left, Robbie Gould nailed a 41 yard field goal for the win.
Cutler finished the game completing 19-of-28 passes for 186 yards one touchdown, one interception and two fumbles. Cutler favorite target Marshall, caught nine passes for 98 yards.
Newton completed 20-of-39 passes for 314 yards threw two interceptions and two fumbles. Steve Smith, caught seven passes for 118 yards.
Carolina will head to FedEx field next week to take on the Washington Redskins. The Bears will be on the road next week against the Tennessee Titans as they look to stay atop the NFC North division with the Vikings and Packers breathing right behind their necks.
Image Courtesy : Chicago Bears