The Chicago Bears should consider themselves lucky to come away with a 23-22 victory against the Carolina Panthers at home in Week 8.
Robbie Gould nailed a 41-yard field goal as time expired to give the Bears (6-1) the win.
The win keeps Chicago ahead in the NFC North by two in the loss column and from an embarrassing loss against a team that has only won one game this season.
Carolina (1-6) had Chicago fans worried throughout this game as they were as they were able to create pressure on Jay Cutler early. In the first half, the intercepted Cutler once, and sacked him six times. They also forced and recovered two Cutler fumbles.
Cutler wasn't nervous, however, after taking over down 22-20 with less than two minutes to play.
"(Cutler) gets up smiling," said wide receiver Brandon Marshall. "I'm sitting here shaking — a little bit of the cold weather, a little bit of (being) nervous — and he just starts smiling like, `Well, here we go.' It just put me at ease right away. The guys feel that vibe and they play off of it."
Cutler went six of seven passing for 55 yards on Chicago's final drive to set up the Gould field goal. It seemed like he ran the same play — a short slant — with Marshall on four of the plays, and it worked every time.
A week after being dubbed questionable with bruised ribs after the hit he took from Ndamukong Suh, Cutler completed 19 of 28 passes for 186 yards. He said his ribs didn't feel bad at all, he just didn't play well.
"I didn't play well," Cutler said. "It starts with me. Offensively, those first 3 1/2 quarters were just ugly."
He played well at the end, however connecting with Kellen Davis for a 12-yard touchdown and leading Chicago on their game-winning drive.
Tim Jennings made the play of the day on defense, intercepting a Cam Newton pass intended for Steve Smith, who slipped on the play, and returning it for a touchdown, which gave Chicago its first lead of the game since they took an early 7-0 win. It was Chicago's sixth defensive touchdown on the year.
Jennings' touchdown made it a 20-19 game, a lead that Chicago relinquished but eventually took back.
As for Carolina, kicker Justin Medlock was their main source of offense. He went five-for-five, his longest being a 45-yard field goal that grazed the right upright on its way through giving the Panthers a 22-20 lead just before the two minute warning.
The Panthers' lone touchdown came when quarterback Cam Newton fumbled the ball trying to run into the end zone. Chicago safety Major Wright jarred the ball loose, but receiver Louis Murphy was there to jump on the ball for a touchdown.
It was a game Chicago probably didn't deserve to win, yet they still prevailed and improved to 4-0 at Soldier Field on the year.
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