Despite almost doubling the Chicago Bears in both total yards and time of possession, three turnovers cost the Carolina Panthers the game as they lose 17-3 in Chicago.
The Panthers, coming off a Thursday night lose to Philadelphia, had a long week and extra time to prepare for the Bears but still managed to score zero touchdowns on Sunday. Cam Newton continues to be the only offensive weapon for this team, as he finished the game 21-34 passing attempts, 211 yards, and two interceptions. Once again, Cam lead the Panthers in rushing, as he rushed for 50 yards on nine carries. The sloppiness of the running backs continues for Carolina, Jonathan Stewart finished the game with 48 yards on 14 carries, and rookie Christian McCaffrey had only 10 yards on seven carries. This could be due to a banged up offensive line. Center Ryan Kalil left the game in the first quarter after suffering a neck injury, and guard Trai Turner left the game with a knee injury. Wide receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess once again had slow weeks, as Benjamin had three catches for 65 yards and Funchess had four catches for 41 yards. The Panthers will have to find ways to fix the running game in order to stop this losing streak.
But three costly turnovers, including two that were scoring plays for the Bears, is the main reason the Panthers lost. Early in the first quarter, the Panthers were driving down the field, Cam ran an option play and pitched the ball to wide receiver Curtis Samuel, who then bobbled the pitch, and eventually was picked up by Bears’ rookie Eddie Jackson, as he returned the fumble for a 75-yard touchdown. Later in the game, Cam threw an interception that was brought down by Jackson, who then ran for a 76-yard touchdown. If it wasn’t for these two plays, these two easily fixable mistakes, then the Panthers would have most likely scored on both drives and it would have been a whole different game.
The Panthers’ defense continues to play sturdy despite the struggles from the offense. They only gave up 68 yards rushing and 85 yards passing. The Bears only threw the ball seven times, as rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky played his first game against the Panthers. The Panthers front seven continues to be one of the best squads in the league, as they make it very difficult for teams to run against them and they put a lot of pressure on the opposing quarterback. The only thing they didn’t do was force any turnovers.
Carolina now has to travel to Tampa Bay next Sunday as they look to turn this losing streak around.