The Carolina Panthers were given an early advantage by their special teams on Thursday night, but due to another lackluster display from their offense, they were unable to capitalize.
On Thursday Night Football, the Panthers lost to the Chicago Bears 16-13 when Eddy Pineiro missed a 59-yard field goal in the last few minutes.
Carolina appeared to have a chance to extend the game into overtime when Bryce Young successfully converted two fourth downs during a 15-play, 50-yard drive into Bears territory.
The offense was unsuccessful with three consecutive incomplete passes at the 41-yard line. Instead of attempting for a third time, the Panthers’ coach Frank Reich opted to go for a long field goal in an attempt to even the score.
The trajectory of Pineiro’s kick was accurate, but it did not have enough power to reach its intended distance.
According to Reich, our team has experienced numerous close matches where a slight improvement in our offense could have resulted in a victory. Instead of dwelling on specific statistics like yards gained or ratio of running to passing plays, our main focus is on executing plays effectively in order to secure wins in football games.
The performance of the special teams was a major focus in the beginning of the game too.
Ihmir Smith-Marsette, a previous member of the Bear team, made a 79-yard punt return to start the scoring in the initial quarter. This was his very first punt return touchdown and also the first one for the Panthers since Week 12 of 2017 when they played against the New York Jets.
After that, the number of notable moments decreased significantly as Chicago pulled ahead of Carolina with a score of 16-6 for the remainder of the game.
Cairo Santos successfully kicked three field goals in the first half to help the Bears stay competitive. In the third quarter, D’Onta Foreman, a former Panther player, scored a 4-yard touchdown to secure the lead for the Bears.
The Panthers’ offense gained a total of 213 yards on 57 plays in the game. Young completed 21 out of 38 attempts for 185 yards, marking his second consecutive game with less than 5 yards per attempt.
The combined rushing yards for the Panthers’ running backs was only 25 yards on 13 attempts, resulting in an average of less than 2 yards per carry.
Young stated, “There is no justification. We are all rivals and feeling frustrated. However, our frustration will not make a difference next Sunday. We must channel it into improving ourselves and carrying that progress forward.”
The most lengthy play of the evening (for either team) occurred in the second quarter. New addition Michael Strachan found an opening for a 45-yard advancement into the red zone, resulting in Pineiro making two successful field goals.
On Thursday afternoon, Strachan was promoted from the practice squad to fill in for the injured DJ Chark.
The next game for the Panthers (1-8) is in 10 days. They will play against the Dallas Cowboys (5-3) at Bank of America Stadium on November 19th.
At 5:46 in the 1st quarter, Ihmir Smith-Marsette scored a 79-yard punt return, with Eddy Pineiro successfully making the extra point. This put the Panthers in the lead with a score of 7-0.
At 2:29 in the first quarter, Cairo Santos successfully kicked a 54-yard field goal, bringing the score to 7-3 in favor of the Panthers.
At 1:33 PM on the 2nd of the month, Eddy Pineiro successfully kicked a 33-yard field goal, bringing the score to 10-3 in favor of the Panthers.
At 3:06 in the second quarter, Cairo Santos successfully kicked a 36-yard field goal, resulting in a score of 10-6 in favor of the Panthers.
At the start of the second quarter, Cairo Santos successfully kicked a 39-yard field goal, bringing the score to 10-9 with the Panthers in the lead.
At 6:33 in the third quarter, D’Onta Foreman rushed for 4 yards and Cairo Santos successfully made the extra point, bringing the score to 16-10 in favor of the Bears.
At 11:06 in the 4th quarter, Eddy Pineiro successfully kicked a 39-yard field goal, bringing the score to 16-13 in favor of the Bears.