Game-deciding errors doom the Panthers, but the problems run deeper for Carolina's fan base.
Over at Cat Scratch Reader, the bloggers keyed on those few mistakes — including Cam Newton's interception and a six-yard punt — but a larger picture of concern began with the offense's inability to score touchdowns to cap off big drives.
Though the Panthers were 10 for 19 on 3rd down (52%) they could only punch it into the end zone once and they almost blew that one too when Newton fumbled the ball just before crossing the goal line.
A defense that allowed the Bears to score the game-deciding touchdown was also a target of blame, especially a secondary that seemed completely lost against similar play calls down the stretch.
... The prevent, soft coverage we played on defense on the last drive. How could we let them throw the same short left slant on 5 straight passes? It's totally maddening to watch.
Interestingly, it was also the defense that drew much of the praise the bloggers had for the Panthers after the loss, however, that praise was mostly reserved for earlier effort that led to Carolina's early advantage.
The defense was dominant early in this game getting 6 sacks and two turnovers. The first was a nice INT by rookie Josh Norman. It was the first of his career. Likewise DE Greg Hardy might have had the best half of his career, getting 3 sacks. DE Charles Johnson added 2 sacks and a forced fumble and recovery.