Despite three turnovers in the first half by Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and a sputtering offense, the Carolina Panthers blew an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter as Chicago nabbed a 23-22 victory on Sunday at Soldier Field.
Chicago kicker Robbie Gould hit a 41-yard attempt as time expired to steal the victory from the lowly 1-6 Panthers.
The Bears (6-1) offense struggled mightily and found itself trailing 19-7 early in the fourth quarter. A three-and-out by Carolina and a botched punt at the Panthers' 32-yard line gave Chicago the ball at the Panthers' 38, and Cutler got out of his funk to score on the drive capped by a 12-yard touchdown throw to Kellen Davis.
On the first play after the ensuing kickoff, maligned quarterback Cam Newton threw a pick-six to cornerback Tim Jennings for a 25-yard interception return that gave Chicago a 20-19 lead. It was Jennings' second interception of the day.
Newton also fumbled the ball twice, but each time, Carolina recovered. He finished with a 20-of-39 day, 314 yards and two interceptions.
Kicker Justin Medlock hit four field goals on the day as Chicago's defense tightened up in the red zone. The Panthers struggled to punch the ball in, and Medlock's kicks came from 34 yards, 31 yards, 22 yards and 43 yards. His 45-yarder with 2:32 remaining in the game gave the Panthers the lead back to seemingly avoid a meltdown.
But Cutler found himself in the final two drives. He finished the game having completed 19-of-28 passes for 186 yards, and he was the catalyst in setting up the game-winning field goal.
Fantasy stud: Carolina kicker Justin Medlock went a perfect 5-for-5 and almost made the difference for the Panthers' red-zone inept offense.
Fantasy dud: Jay Cutler, who came into Sunday's Week 8 game with a rib injury. While he made up for a terrible performance late, the numbers still weren't there.
Odds: The Chicago Bears opened as 7.5 point favorites and that line varied from 7.0 to 9.0 depending, on the oddsmaker. The game turned out much closer than those betting on Chicago would have liked.
Injury info: Carolina defensive tackle Dwan Edwards left the game with an ankle injury and was questionable to return. Panthers wide receiver Brandon LaFell went to the locker room in the third quarter after taking a shot to the head on a hit by Chicago safety Chris Conte. Conte was flagged for hitting a defenseless player.