Streak ends as Panthers drop game to Bears

Caroline’s three-game winning streak ended

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) makes a catch during an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Brian Westerholt)

Teddy Bridgewater’s interception ended the Carolina Panthers’ hopes of a comeback victory over the Chicago Bears at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on Sunday.

Pressured by former Tar Heel Robert Quinn, Bridgewater hurried a throw that was picked off, allowing the Bears to run out the clock on a 23-16 win. The Panthers saw their three-game win streak end as they dropped to 3-3 on the year, while the Bears improved to 5-1.

Bridgewater was harassed by the Bears defense all day. He was sacked four times, and Chicago had him pressured and on the run on several occasions.

“We were under duress,” coach Matt Rhule said. “Teddy ran the ball more than I’ve seen him run it. He had to extend plays with his feet. The pressure gave us problems at times.”

Three thoughts

1. The Panthers’ first drive set the tone for an offense that had a long day. On the first three snaps, Mike Davis lost a yard rushing, Bridgewater was sacked and then threw an interception giving the Bears the ball at the Panthers 7 and setting up the game’s first touchdown.

“They brought a lot of pressure,” Rhule said. “That got us out of whack.”

2. The Panthers had been doing well at converting third downs during their winning streak, but things didn’t go as well against the Bears. Carolina converted just three of 13 third-down attempts in the game.

“We had been in the top 7 in the NFL,” Rhule said. “I just thought it was a global issue today, offensively. … One throw here, one catch here, it might have been a different result.”

3. The Panthers actually got two chances at the game-tying drive. On the first, Carolina moved 45 yards on seven plays and faced a fourth-and-2 from the Chicago 38. Bridgewater threw high to DJ Moore, who got his hand on the ball but couldn’t pull it in. After Carolina used two time outs and stuffed the Bears, allowing Chicago to take just 23 seconds off the clock, the Panthers got the ball back, setting up Bridgewater’s interception on the first snap.

Number to Know

1 in 6 — The Panthers also struggled in the red zone. They got inside the Bears 5 on three occasions but settled for field goals twice. The Panthers also got their only red zone touchdown in the last six quarters on the other trip inside the 5.

“You’re not going to win games if you don’t punch drives in for touchdowns,” Rhule said. “The red zone was clearly an issue.”

They Said It

“This game will humble you. I’m sure it humbled a lot of people today.”

— Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater

Player of the Game

Jeremy Chinn, Panthers linebacker —  The rookie had five tackles, including four solo stops. He also broke up two passes and had a key interception, getting the Panthers the ball back immediately after a Mike Davis fumble.

Critical thinking

To a man, Panthers coaches and players harped on getting better each week. As simple and cheesy as that may sound, it seemed to be working during the three-game winning streak. Sunday’s game against the Bears was a setback, but Rhule didn’t sound like he’d be changing his approach or attitude.

“Sometimes, in life, you’ve got to relearn lessons,” he said.