Carolina Panthers dropped their first road game of the season.
Unfortunately for Panthers history repeated itself. The squad had never won a regular season game on Chicago Bears Soldier Field (0-4) and that slide continues after losing 17-3, Sunday. This curse was still prevalent for Panthers even coming into the game 3-0 on the road with Cam Newton accumulating a quarterback rating of 122.9 in those games with eight touchdown passes to only two interceptions.
Coming up short on the road was nothing short of a “disappointment,” head coach Ron Rivera said during the post game press conference.
“It came down to three plays,” Rivera said. “This game was won by the team that made those three plays.”
Two of those plays were turnovers Bears safety Eddie Jackson turned into points. On the opening drive Eddie Jackson returned a fumble for a 75-yard touchdown after a Panthers option play gone wrong. The second was a tipped pass Jackson caught and ran back for a 76-yard pick six in the second quarter. Third, a deep throw by Bears rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky to running back Tarik Cohen for a 70-yard completion leading to a field goal before half, 17-3.
“Those two turnovers hurt us and we just couldn’t seem to get our foot back,” Newton said.
Neither team scored in the second half resulting into Panthers losing their second consecutive game.
While the offense wasn’t able to get it going, Rivera doesn’t blame Newton for the two turnovers turned into points.
“The pitch wasn’t his fault, that ball should be caught,” Rivera said. On the pick six “the ball ricocheted in the air, that’s not his fault.”
The two plays Newton needed to make was when he missed Kelvin Benjamin on an over throw and Christian McCaffrey when he over thrown a pass to him as well, Rivera said.
“We didn’t make plays,” Rivera said.
Those turnovers deep in Bears territory and settling for a 36-yard field goal were inexcusable, Rivera said.
“A game like this with an opportunity like that, if you don’t score when you have that opportunity when you get down there, you might not get back down there,” Rivera said. “Its kind of a hallmark for what they (Chicago Bears) believe in…its tradition.
“We had chances to win this football game but they took it away early,” Rivera said.
Week eight Panthers (4-3) will take on NFC South division foes Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4), Sunday.
By Gino Terrell