Defense carries day again in Bears win over Panthers

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images /

It sure wasn’t pretty, but the Chicago Bears earned a very important 17-3 win over the Carolina Panthers on the strength of their defense.

It’s hard not to be happy with the fact that the Chicago Bears won today’s game against the Carolina Panthers with a dominating defensive performance.

After all, this is what Bears fans love, isn’t it? Mistake-free football on offense and a stifling defense that takes the ball away and scores? Today was a throwback to those 1985/mid-2000s that everyone loves so much.

Sadly, their offense left quite a bit to be desired for a third straight week, largely because John Fox doesn’t believe in letting Mitch Trubisky throw the football (4-7 attempts, 107 yards). And their inability to keep the football on offense could’ve hurt the Bears if their defense wasn’t so excellent.

Then again, they were today, so the offense ultimately didn’t matter.

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And in doing so, they brought the Chicago Bears a two-game winning streak, improving their record to 3-4. With some crucial games coming up, the Bears will have a legitimate chance to re-insert themselves into the NFC North conversation.

Who saw that coming?

Here a few big plays from the game.


Eddie Jackson‘s persistence pays off

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers looked like they were going to have a really easy first drive, driving down the field with ease.

Then, they tried to get fancy with their rookie weapon Curtis Samuel. But fortune favored the Bears as Samuel fumbled the backward pitch, and Jackson, who’s always around the football, scooped it up and took it back for a 75-yard score.

Great way to start off the game, right? Well, a couple of possessions later, Jackson struck again, this time on a tipped ball from Prince Amukamara. And for the second straight week, a tipped ball from a corner led to a pick-six from a safety.

With that interception return, Jackson became the first player in league history to record two 75-yard defensive touchdowns in a game. And he did it in about a quarter in a half of football today.

The kid’s All-Rookie/Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign continues, and I love it.

Tarik Cohen goes deep

Trubisky wasn’t really allowed to do anything today as the Bears offense remains annoyingly conservative. But he did manage to make one big play in the passing game, connecting with fellow rookie Tarik Cohen for this monster gain.

If nothing else, Cohen has continued making his presence felt in the passing game, consistently getting open. And when he gets the football in the open field, he can drive teams crazy with his agility.

Don’t be surprised if we see more running backs lining up out wide as receivers with their outside receivers struggling to get open. Getting Cohen and potentially Taquan Mizzell more involved in the offense

Danny Trevathan seals the game

Truthfully, the Chicago Bears let the Panthers hang around way too long in this game, and it felt like one or two big plays from Newton could turn the tide. But the defense never relented, hunting Newton all day long.

And with Leonard Floyd chasing him, as he had pretty much all game, Newton forced a ball toward Christian McCaffrey that Trevethan picked to all but seal the game.

The interception capped an enormous game for Trevathan, who has been simply everywhere since returning to the lineup. He even had one of the Bears’ five sacks on the day. But as always, the takeaways make the biggest highlights. And this one, in particular, all but wrapped up the Bears’ second straight win.

Stud of the Game: Jackson

I’ve been saying it for weeks now: it was just a matter of team before Jackson got his hands on a football.

Today, it happened twice, and both went for touchdowns.

He’s only played seven games in a Bears uniform, and he’s already the most dynamic presence they’ve had a free safety since Mike Brown. Sure, that might not be saying much yet, given the small sample size of his play. But in time, that might hold a lot more impact.

For now, just enjoy the way this young man is balling out at safety. We haven’t seen this in a while.

Trevathan (four tackles, one sack, one INT) and Kyle Fuller, for the second week in a row, also deserve tremendous props in this game.

Fighting through a few injury issues, Fuller kept up his solid play at corner, defending one pass, recording five tackles and using the sideline as his friend multiple times to force receivers out of bounds for incomplete passes.

Next: Chicago Bears must let Mitch Trubisky loose

The Chicago Bears will look to push the winning streak (!?!) to three next week against the high-powered New Orleans Saints.