On Sunday, this writer had a chance to travel four hours from his home in Iowa to see the Chicago Bears take on the Carolina Panthers at Soldier Field. The game promised to be a good one as there were many storylines.
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The 2-4 Chicago Bears played host to the 4-2 Carolina Panthers this past Sunday at Soldier Field in a matchup that looked uneven on paper but was much more even when you took the two teams at face value. No one gave the Bears a chance to win this game, including this writer. But even though many in the media picked against the Bears they ended up winning the game 17-3 in exciting fashion.
This writer wanted to share some highlights from being at the game and give you some insight into what it was like to see this great Bears’ victory in person.
The weather was supposed to play a big factor in this game. However, the only way it had any part in the game was with the windy conditions, which didn’t seem to hamper the kicking game that much. Sure, Connor Barth missed a field goal, but that wasn’t because of the wind. At least from my seat, the wind didn’t look like it did too much to affect the outcome.
The game was dry as the players, as well as the and fans, were spared from the forecasted rain. That was until the walk to the parking lots, when the rain hit but thanks to a Bears’ victory, even the rain didn’t feel bad.
Cam Newton was in all his glory just before the start of the game. He came running out of the visitor’s tunnel about 20 minutes before the game in full uniform with his arms out like airplane wings. He ran all over the Carolina side of the filed tipping his arms up and down. You could tell he was happy, excited and bantering with teammates.
But when the whistle blew, and play began, Cam was under duress for just about the entire game.
There was one point, on the second to the last sack on Newton, that he got up and limped a little bit favoring his left leg. The Bears put the hurt on him and kept him from beating them. It’s one of the best defensive performances the Bears have had in the last few seasons.
Hopefully, they can continue to do what they did Sunday on a regular basis.
Sitting in the stands, you get to hear what a lot of the other fans are saying. Of course, the defense was the talk of the fan base in my section Sunday. But when Mitchell Trubisky finally hit the field, the fans were ecstatic. Cheers went up from the crowd when he dropped back to pass, and there was not a single negative comment made about him around me. In fact, one gentleman behind me referred to Trubisky as “Trubiskgod” during the entire game.
The biggest complaint coming from the crowd was the fact that the coaching staff was not letting Trubisky throw the ball that often. The fans want the coaching staff to take the reins off him because they are getting restless. They want to see what this kid can do. But it would appear as the Bears have found somewhat of a winning formula right now and will continue to ease him along.
Any fan base would not be complete without having opposing fans at the game, and the Panthers had plenty. There were several hundred-people wearing the familiar black, blue, white and silver dotted all along Soldier Field. There were times their fans were so loud around me I thought there were more of them. But the Bears’ fans would eventually drown them out.
You can even credit Bears’ fans with forcing the Panthers to have to call a timeout thanks to being so loud. They were really into this game.
Of course, there were the two biggest highlights of the game for the Bears. The fumble return by safety Eddie Jackson was amazing. From my section, the play came right at me as he ran the ball into the end zone for Chicago’s first touchdown of the game. Then his next touchdown, a pick-six the pick, went the other way.
Both plays were a thing of beauty. It reminded me of Jackson’s days returning interceptions and punts for scores at Alabama. He has great speed, can be elusive and is one heck of an athlete.
Other than what Jackson could do, there weren’t that many highlights as the Bears scored just three more points. But they held the Panthers to just three points total and kept fans on the edge of their seats. Throw in the better than expected weather, great food, and some nice pre-game activities, and it turned into a nice day for Bears fans.
Another nice thing about the game was that the first half went by very quickly. When you have a lot of running, as well as just one penalty (which came on the last play of the half) things move quickly.
You do tend to realize when you are at the game how the TV timeouts disrupt the flow of it. They break the momentum not only for the players but also for the fans. It’s like people don’t have anything to do for a minute or two so they lose interest in the game. The momentum the crowd has is lost and this happened on Sunday.
There was one thing that happened during the game that this writer hasn’t seen in 34 years of watching football. As the game started to come to an end a shirtless fan jumped the barrier around the edge of the field and ran from the north end zone to about the 20-yard line. He was tackled there by several security guards. As the whole thing was unfolding, one of the officials got right up next to Tarik Cohen who was closest to the fan.
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I don’t know if he was trying to protect Cohen or have Cohen protect him.
Finally, I did want to touch on the pre-game activities. The Bears put on quite a show outside of the stadium before the start of the game. They had a little bit of everything for the fans to enjoy. This included food, drinks, giveaways, and activities for the kids. The even had autographs opportunities and James “Big Cat” Williams was one of the former players who came to sign autographs for the fans. There was plenty to do inside Soldier Field as well before the game. The Bears have provided their fans with a lot of different options on game day and it helps make the experience that much more fun.
In the end, it was a great day to travel all that way to see the Bears win. We would do it again in a heartbeat.