C3 Up, C3 Down: Bears vs Panthers

C3 Up: Three Things The Carolina Panthers Did Well

The Carolina Panthers are now on a one game winning streak after defeating the Chicago Bears this past Sunday! The Cardiac Cats had all of us shaking our heads in the first half, and on the edge of our seats in the second half. They were like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. According to Webster’s Dictionary, a winning streak is, “a streak of wins.” I might be getting too far ahead of myself, but the future is looking bright! 

After this statement win, what three things did the Carolina Panthers do well?

1. The Comeback Kids – The Carolina Panthers had a rough first half of football against the Chicago Bears. The Panthers had three turnovers and the Bears were able to capitalize on those mistakes with scoring 14 points. At one point in the first half the Panthers were down by 14 points, but they were able to score at the very end of the first half to get within seven points. The Cardiac Cats came out in the second half and looked like a brand new team. I wonder what Ron Rivera said in the locker room? The Panthers had zero turnovers in the second half and the Bears had four! The defensive line was able to pressure Cutler and shut down the run game. Can the Panthers build on this momentum?

2. Stopping The Run Is Our “Forte”: – Matt Forte had a great first half and it seemed like he was able to do anything he wanted to. But, the Panthers defense came together at halftime and decided that they wanted to take that smile right off of Forte’s face. Luke Kuechly shadowed Forte and the Panthers held the Chicago Bears to only 85 rushing yards total.

3. Holy Oly – Former Bears G.M. Jerry Angelo said, “It was a mistake to trade him (Greg Olsen).” Jerry Angelo was right because Olsen had a great game against his former team. Olsen finished the game with seven receptions for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Greg Olsen is an important part of the Carolina Panthers offense and is Cam Newton’s favorite target.

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C3 Down: Three Things Carolina did Poorly  

The Panthers showed some real fortitude in this one. Down with the second quarter coming to a close, Cam drove the team down for a touchdown right before the half. This propelled them to victory and snapped a two game losing streak.

While we did get the win, yet there were still things that we did not do well. Here are three that I noticed:

  1. Opposing running backs- For the past three weeks, the opposing team’s running back or running backs have experienced good success against our defense.

Looking back at the Steelers game, Leveon Bell and LeGarrette “let's smoke a” Blount experienced tremendous success running the ball. Both backs surpassed the century mark in the week 3 matchup.

Week 4 provided the Panthers a chance to bounce back with a good showing against the Ravens. Well for as great a had by Steve Smith, the backfield tandem of Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro combined to rush for 124 yards and 2 scores.

There was more of the same against the Bears. Matt Forte managed 61 yards on the ground but really made hay in the passing game with 12 receptions for 105 yards and a score.

This is surprising because of how good we have been in the recent past against opposing running backs. This trend will have to stop for us to have any hope of making it to the postseason.

  1. Panthers rushing attack- The team’s rushing attack has been less than effective in recent games. A part of this is certainly due to the rash of injuries running rampant through the Panthers backfield. It can be said the running game was more effective versus the Bears but it was not what I would call good. The running game is the foundation of this offense. Without it opposing teams are able to better attack our deficiency at the offensive tackle positions. This in turn makes it more difficult on Cam. Despite the lack of a run game, Cam has looked excellent this season. Imagine how good he will be when we get healthy and can generate a punishing run game!

  1. Defensive Line- This area of strength has become something of a liability over the last three weeks. For the first half against the Bears it was more of the same.

Come the second half we were able to see the defensive line of old. Generating good pressure and forcing Cutler to making poor decisions with the ball led to a Panthers win. Charles Johnson showed flashes of his former self and we need him to continue to round into form so this group can wreak havoc in opposing team’s backfield. Kawann Short really provided a good push up the middle and he made some clutch plays late in the game. We know the talent is there it is just a matter of putting it all together for an entire game.

This win was a necessity. The Bears are not much better than an average team with an above average offense. We should by no means think we are “back” to 2013 form. We will really get a test over the next 4 weeks to see where we are as a team. But the game last Sunday did prove that this team has the intestinal fortitude to come back when the chips are down. That was the most encouraging sign taken from this victory against Chicago. 

By +Joe Riollano 
Follow that "Freak'n Puerto Rican" on Twittter @JoeRiollano