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3 and out: Despite an uneven performance, Bears escapes Carolina with a 23-16 win

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Takeaways after the Chicago Bears’ 23-16 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

1. A choice to seal it. After the time didn’t run out, the Panthers got the ball back with plenty of time to try and at least even the match. Instead, DeAndre Houston-Carson chose Teddy Bridgewater for Carolina’s first leg of the ride. It certainly hasn’t been beautiful, but the Bears are 5-1.

2. Maybe try a run-play? Speaking of the clock, the Bears only needed six feet to stow Carolina. Maybe Matt Nagy just got too cute? Maybe he has understandably lost faith in his run game? Regardless, Nick Foles’ pass to Allen Robinson was cut, the Bears were forced to kick, and the Panthers were still alive. This will not work forever.

3. Are you going to mention that? The Panthers’ attack didn’t have much success getting into the red zone all day, until a fake pass interference on Jaylon Johnson – which was a perfectly legal defense against DJ Moore – gave the Panthers the football at the 1- yard line of the Bears. Mike Davis quickly found the end zone from there and suddenly the Panthers were within 20-13 with 13:11 to play.

Three things that worked

1. Red zone defense. The Bears entered Week 6 leading the NFL into the red zone defense and again it was great. They held the Panthers to field goals twice in the first half, and the Panthers may not have found the end zone at all, if not because of the ridiculously bad pass interference on Johnson.

2. Hello, Cole Kmet. Two receptions for 20 yards and a touchdown didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but given that Kmet had one catch in the season coming in week 6, we’ll call it a step in the right direction. Nagy has to find a way to get the rookie involved.

Remove bombs. Writing about the kicker is never fun, but this offense doesn’t leave you with many viable options. We must also consider the state of the Bears’ kick game during the Nagy era. Cairo Santos was 3/3 Sunday, including an explosion from 55 meters away. Eddy Piniero may not have a job.

Three things that didn’t

1. Is that the best you can do? It really was a make-or-break week for the Bears’ run game against a porous Carolina run defense. David Montgomery went out, finishing with 58 scoreless yards on 19 carry. He was rejected twice on the goal line – a repeat review ruled that he was short on the second attempt – and Foles had to come in third.

2. The offensive line is a problem. The bad performance wasn’t all Montgomery’s fault. With James Daniels on IR, the Bears chose to start Rashaad Coward instead of Daniels. It was not going well. And Charles Leno was no better whether he was being driven or pass-blocking.

3. A tough day for the rookie. While he couldn’t do anything during the pass interference, it wasn’t a great performance for Johnson overall. The Panthers chose the rookie corner all afternoon. However, it shouldn’t be considered a concern. Johnson has been great so far.

What’s next?

The Bears head to Los Angeles for a Monday Night Football matchup with Jared Goff and the Rams. It is the third consecutive season of primetime meeting for these two teams. The Rams won last year’s game 17-7, while the Bears won 15-6 in 2018.



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