- The Bears played a lot of man-to-man coverage. The Panthers receivers were tough to handle. They’re quick and they play fast.
- The Bears were very physical on defense today. They were fast to the ball.
- The pass rush was pretty undisciplined and they left a lot of of room for Carolina quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to run.
- Having said that, the Bears front seven looked pretty good today and handled the Panthers up front reasonably well.
- Jaylon Johnson had a bad, bad day today. Bridgewater picked on him all game, especially with D.J. Moore.
- The Bears once again struggled in coverage with their linebackers on shallow crossing routes. Admittedly those are tough but its their job and they have to do it.
- Cole Kmet finally got a touchdown on a good throw to him in double coverage. Here’s hoping its the first of many.
- Anthony Miller also finally got a ball in the first quarter but wasted it by backing up and giving up the first down that he initially had. It wasn’t a good look.
- I don’t have the stats but Matt Nagy calls a lot of runs on first down. As color man Jonathan Vilma pointed out, when he didn’t do that, he called for short passes to the outside which were the equivalent. I know the offensive line is largely responsible for the struggles with the run game that the Bears have. But I’m starting to wonder how much Nagy’s play calling is factoring into it.
- Having said that the Bears got dominated up front by one of the worst run defenses in the league. They ended the game with 3 yards per carry but it seemed like less.
- The Panthers got a lot of pressure on Nick Foles in the second half. Much of it came on the blitz. This was a terrible game for the offensive line, who were without coach Juan Castillo. Castillo is quarantining after being exposed to someone with COVID.
- Nick Foles let go of a bunch of wobbly passes under that pressure. He finally got picked off by the Panthers inside the Panther 10 yard line. I understand trying to make a play but you can’t be stupid about it.
- Foles did do a good job of spreading the ball around today. Most of the receivers and tight ends had a catch. The Panthers were obviously hyper-aware of Allen Robinson, who I think almost everyone in the league believes is the only Bears offensive player likely to consistently burn anyone.
- Darnell Mooney really does do a good job of getting open by using his speed. Cornerbacks have to respect it and he gets a lot of room.
- The Bears continue to struggle to throw the ball down field. They had only 5.1 yards per pass, which is a statistic that is a pretty good indication of the overall health of your passing game.
- David Montgomery still has a habit of running without the necessary patience. But he’s getting better.
- Kenny Albert, Vilma and Shannon Spake were your announcers. Once again, I liked Vilma, who has warmed to the job after a tough start without Albert at the beginning of the season. Again, I frequently found myself thinking along with him. He made a number of good points, including pointing out that Carolina was spreading the Bears out to run in the same way the Buccaneers did. I’m also a Shannon Spake fan.
- Special teams: Cairo Santos kicked a career long 55 yard field goal. Joey Slye missed a 54 yard field goal in the third quarter that the Panthers really could have used with the score only 13-6. The Bears took over and eventually scored a touchdown. Slye gave Cordarella Patterson absolutely no chance to return kicks, consistently kicking it through the endzone.
- The Bears dominated field position for much of the game getting good starting position while pinning the Panthers inside their twenty.
- Penalties: The referees were letting a lot of early hits on receivers go on both sides today. The penalties should have been pretty obvious. The Bears got rolling with a delay of game on their first possession coming out of a time out on the Carolina 4 yard line. I’ll never understand how that happens. The sequence leading to the Panther’s second field goal was interesting. It looked to me like the Panthers were just trying to draw the Bears offsides but Nagy ran down the sideline in panic and called a time out to set up the defense. The Panthers then came out and did the same thing and, sure enough, Akiem Hicks jumped offside to defend a play that almost certainly wasn’t going to come. That’s bad all the way around. The Bears had not one but Two 12 men in the huddle penalties to sustain a Carolina drive at the end of the third quarter. Jaylon Johnson got called for a terrible pass interference call later in the drive to set up the touchdown. Though the arm was in a suspicious position, on replay you could clearly see that Johnson didn’t have D.J. Moore’s arm pinned. Just so no one thinks I’m saying that the bad calls all went one way, the Panthers drew a terrible roughing the passer penalty on the next Bears possession. The Bears eventually kicked a field goal. It was a bad day for the refs. The Bears finished the game with 10 penalties for 92 yards. That’s too many to consistently play winning football against good teams.
- Drops: D.J. Moore dropped a touchdown on what was otherwise a pretty good day for him. It was the worst of a few today for him including one on fourth down with less than 2 minutes left in the game.
- Turnovers: Tashaun Gibson got a nice interception on the Panthers first possession to set up a Bears touchdown. It looked like the hit on the receiver was early but see my comments about the referees above. Akiem Hicks recovered a Mike Davis fumble that Eddie Jackson knocked out in the third quarter. The Bears got the ball on the Carolina 22 yard line. Nick Foles immediately handed the ball back to the Panthers with an awful throw under pressure. Deandre Houston-Carson got the game winning interception off of Bridgewater with less than 2 minutes left.
- I hate to keep bashing a team that keeps winning but they just aren’t playing well. They ran into a Carolina team that had a bad game today and once again pulled one out. But they have to start playing better, more disciplined football or this simply won’t fly against good teams like the Packers.