Well, so much for my prediction of a Panthers' upset in this game. That'll teach me to pick this 2010 team to win anything this season -- Chicago dominated the Panthers, 23-6, despite getting some of the worst play by the Bears' starting QB that you'll ever see.
There are dozens of bad things to choose from today, but let's narrow the field to the traditional "5 things I didn't like":
1. Jimmy Clausen. The rookie took one step forward against New Orleans a week ago and at least two back on Sunday. He was so bad that he had thrown an interception and fumbled twice against the Bears before he completed one pass. He was so bad that he got yanked out of the game late in the fourth quarter after misfiring (or mis-communicating with his receivers) on three straight passes. He was so bad... OK, fill in your punchline there. He was just plain bad.
2. Panthers' run defense. The Panthers' pass defense was excellent (intercepting Todd Collins four times). The run defense? Matt Forte had a 68-yard TD run that basically put the game out of reach in the first quarter (Jon Beason and Charles Godfrey both took bad angles or got caught up in the wash on the play). Forte had a career-high 166 rushing yards.
3. Brandon LaFell. He did get open for one deep ball (that Clausen threw way short), but he also committed a crucial penalty, had a couple of drops and caught only one of the eight passes thrown to him. A nasty day for the rookie wideout.
4. Offensive play-calling. As John Fox pointed out after the game, throwing a quick screen to Julius Peppers' side is not a good idea. Peppers got cut-blocked, jumped up, blocked Clausen's first pass and intercepted it. Clausen seemed shot for the rest of the afternoon. So why even tempt fate by throwing that pass -- or calling it? -- in the first place?
5. Special team errors. The Bears had a 50-yard punt return and a 62-yard kickoff return as a Panthers' unit that had made a lot of progress from 2009 went backwards.
I'll leave the final word here to one of the more well-known Panther fans -- former Davidson basketball star Stephen Curry. Panther fans everywhere are getting frustrated. This tweet came from Curry's Twitter account during the game: "Dang...shoulda waited to check the score before I shot out my panthers. Just not our year I guess...RIP John Fox"
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