The defense made several big plays but the offense mustered long drives early but came up short when it counted.
It was a tale of two games with the Bears dominating the first half and the Panthers scoring 17 unanswered in the second. Give John Fox, head coach of the Panthers, credit for heading into half time and making adjustments. It was clear that the Bears weren’t going to give Jake Delhomme a whole lot of time to make plays so the Panthers handed the game to rookie running back Jonathan Stewart. A strong runner Stewart found seems in the Bears defense ran hard and carried tacklers for two scores.
The Good: Defense, specifically the front 4. They all did a good job getting pressure on the QB. They allowed a lot of yards to rookie running back Jonathan Stewart but overall it was a good game for the Bears D.
The Bad: Kyle Orton not only threw a few passes into double and triple coverage but he missed a few wide open shots down the field. He “managed” the game well in the first half but with the Panthers putting pressure on the Bears run game Orton needed to make plays down the field and, to put it plainly, he missed. This is the area of the game he needs to shed his “game manager” status. Every starting quarterback in the league is going to be put into positions to win the game with their arms. He needs to improve his accuracy and his overall ability to complete the ball down field. Not a terrible performance but he needs to play better if the Bears are going to pull out close games like this.
Rashied Davis: Davis had three drops that would have meant first downs. The Bears need a go-to wide out and Davis was Orton’s favorite target in the preseason.
The Ugly: Greg Olsen: Two lost fumbles stalled the Bears offense and shifted momentum to the Panthers. The Bears drafted Olsen because of his speed and hands, he needs to start producing more if he’s to validate his 1st round pick status.
The Difference: The Panthers Offensive Line. Once they committed to the run the Panthers front 5 got the push necessary to allow RB Stewart the space he needed. They controlled the line of scrimmage at the end of game when it counted most.
And let’s not forget that Devin Hester left the game citing problems with his ribs. Keep your eyes peeled for a report on the Bears only offensive game changer.
All in all, it was a disappointing loss but things are still promising for the Bears and will remain promising as long as the defense plays to form.