Oct 5, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) runs the ball during the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
It started out a little rough for the Chicago Bears, but a fantastic first half by Matt Forte and some timely takeaways by the Bears defense have the Bears up 21-14 at halftime from Bank of America Stadium in Carolina.
The Bears special teams made the first significant play of the game when newly acquired Teddy Williams just flattened Philly Brown while he was trying to catch a punt. That’s the first problem, which resulted in a penalty. But after a scrum for the ball, the Bears were standing around while Brown scooped it up and brought it to the house for a touchdown. Check out the gif:
On the subsequent Bears drive, they marched the ball right down the field, but Jay Cutler tried to force a pass to Brandon Marshall into triple coverage and it was tipped and picked off. Three plays later, the Bears defense responded as nickelback Isaiah Frey stripped the ball and the Bears recovered in Panthers territory. A few plays later, Matt Forte caught a screen pass to knot the game up at 7.
The defensive onslaught continued as Willie Young had a strip sack on Cam Newton and Lamarr Houston recovered it deep in Panthers territory. Jay Cutler’s 10-yard scramble turned that turnover into another touchdown to put the Bears up 14-7.
The newcomers continued to show well as defensive tackle Ego Ferguson had a couple of tipped passes at the line of scrimmage, one of which was picked off by a diving Lance Briggs. Cutler and Alshon Jeffery hooked up on a nice screen pass for the Bears’ third touchdown of the game.
A rare missed field goal late in the half by Robbie Gould cost the Bears a chance to widen their lead, while Cam Newton and the Panthers hurry up offense was able to cash in during the closing seconds with Greg Olsen getting a little revenge on his former team.
Matt Forte finished the first with 35 yards on the ground and 93 yards receiving. He’s owned the Panthers in his career. Jay Cutler had a passing TD and a rushing TD with 188 yards and an INT. For the Panthers, Luke Kuechly was all over the field and making tackles like Bears fans will remember from Brian Urlacher used to get.
For the Bears, the key will be to limit their turnovers and pressure Newton and the Panthers into more mistakes.