The Chicago Bears will play their second Thursday night time sport of the season, welcoming the Carolina Panthers to Soldier Field. The groups had been companions within the early March commerce that despatched the No. 1 choose to Carolina in alternate for large receiver DJ Moore and 4 different draft alternatives.
Now the Bears and Panthers, with a mixed 3-15 file, will meet on the sphere in a prime-time conflict. As kickoff nears, right here’s our snapshot have a look at Thursday’s sport.
Player within the highlight
The final time Moore performed on a Thursday night time, he owned the stage. Eight catches, 230 yards, three touchdowns in a blowout of the Washington Commanders. It was an explosive outing that represented simply how good Moore could be and the way helpful he’s to the Bears offense.
This Thursday night time present at Soldier Field comes in opposition to Moore’s former staff, with the 26-year-old receiver predictably downplaying the reunion and dismissing the thought he’ll have additional motivation.
“The extra juice comes from Thursday night but not them,” Moore mentioned Wednesday. “I mean, it’s going to be good to go against them. I’ve been looking forward to it. But we still have a thing to accomplish and get this win.”
Bears large receivers coach Tyke Tolbert, although, believes just a little additional will probably be burning inside Moore.
“I expect him to play well,” Tolbert mentioned. “Listen, anytime a player or coach goes against a team they used to play for or work for, there’s always that extra incentive to show them who they are. I don’t think DJ is any different. He’d go out there and play his best regardless of the opponent. I just think there will be a little extra to go out and play well against a team you just left.”
Since the eruption in opposition to the Commanders final month, Moore has totaled 20 catches and 204 yards with out a landing within the final 4 outings. Last week in New Orleans, he had solely three grabs for 44 yards and misplaced a fumble.
Moore is aware of the Bears want him to supply at a better stage Thursday to propel a profitable effort. That would require him to proceed bettering his chemistry with rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent. Moore emphasised Wednesday that he hasn’t spent a lot time trying within the rearview mirror for the reason that Panthers traded him.
“I don’t have hard feelings about being here,” he mentioned. “I’m loving it here. We’re going to get this thing turned around and that’s going to be the best of it.”
Does Tyson Bagent have one other profitable effort in him with Justin Fields nonetheless sidelined?
The rookie quarterback left the Superdome feeling low, understandably so after his 4 turnovers torpedoed the Bears’ upset bid in a 24-17 loss to the Saints. Two interceptions plus a misplaced fumble within the fourth quarter alone left Bagent discouraged. But his self-assessment improved after he watched the video of all 68 of his snaps.
“When you throw three picks, you leave the field pretty disgusted with yourself,” Bagent mentioned. “But then you look at the film and you realize that, man, for 45 minutes, 48 minutes, I was playing pretty good. We were operating very well. So just clean up those last 12 minutes and I think there’s a different outcome to the game and I’d probably feel a little different leaving the stadium.”
Ball safety will probably be an apparent emphasis Thursday. But Bagent additionally should successfully handle the sport and will have the luxurious of leaning on his working assault. The Panthers have a bottom-five dashing protection, permitting 131.8 yards per sport. Six gamers have amassed a minimum of 75 dashing yards in opposition to Carolina this season, together with two who went over 100: the Detroit Lions’ David Montgomery and the Miami Dolphins’ Raheem Mostert.
D’Onta Foreman, a former Panther, is keen to do his half. He had 120 complete yards and three touchdowns the final time the Bears performed at Soldier Field in a Week 7 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. Foreman gushed Wednesday at how nicely the offensive line has performed in latest weeks.
“Man, those guys have been amazing with the way they’re moving guys off the ball and really creating space,” he mentioned. “That’s a testament to who we are, what we do and how physical we can be. Now we just stay the course.”
Keep an eye fixed on …
The Panthers chosen the previous Alabama quarterback with the No. 1 choose they acquired from the Bears, and Young has struggled by means of his first seven begins, compiling a 77.1 passer score, .639 completion share and 196 passing yards per begin. He has thrown eight landing passes whereas committing 9 turnovers.
The Bears did their pre-draft homework on Young as they a minimum of explored the thought of drafting a quarterback. Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy supplied a thumbnail of his scouting report on Young after intensive movie examine and a go to to Alabama’s professional day.
“We were very impressed with him,” Getsy mentioned. “His accuracy was easy. That’s the thing that stood out for the kid. No matter (whether) it was down the field, under 20 yards or under 10 yards, (he showed) the ability to get the ball out quick. He showed a lot of the cool things you’re looking for in a guy to be a natural passer.”
Added Bears quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko: “He was an accurate son of a gun. He was somebody who was a winner. Smart. He was on time. He knew what he had to do on each play. He had a really good understanding of the game and everything going on around him.”
Young’s dimension — he’s listed at 5-foot-10 and 204 kilos — was the largest knock on him popping out of school, and that has offered challenges as he acclimates to the NFL. He has been sacked 26 instances and missed the Week 3 sport in opposition to the Seattle Seahawks with an ankle harm.
Young has developed notable chemistry with veteran large receiver Adam Thielen, who ranks sixth within the NFL with 62 catches.
“This guy knows how to get open,” Bears safeties coach Andre Curtis mentioned. “He knows how to find holes. He knows how to read coverages. For a young quarterback to find that safety, with him knowing where he’s going to be when he needs to be there, that’s key. The young quarterback has trust in him and he’s delivered.”
Go fourth and conquer
Over the final two seasons, the Bears are 1-10 in one-score video games and have been outscored 76-40 within the fourth quarter of these video games, proof of their lack of ability to flourish in vital moments.
Last week the Bears entered the fourth quarter tied at 17 however turned the ball over on three of their 4 possessions within the quarter and left the Superdome with a 24-17 loss.
Tight finish Cole Kmet is bored with buzzing the identical tune: “It’s tough. I’ve been talking about it since last year. We have to be able to break through.”
Kmet takes pleasure within the strides the Bears offense has made this season, rating within the prime 10 in third-down conversion price (seventh, 44.1%), red-zone effectivity (seventh, 64%) and dashing offense (fourth, 135.3 yards per sport).
“You look at those three things and it’s like, OK, those are the three keys to your success as an offense,” Kmet mentioned.
But the Bears additionally rank final in turnovers (18) and have been penalized 41 instances on offense. Now they’ve to search out their final touch down the stretch of video games.
“We’ve been losing in a lot of different ways,” Kmet mentioned. “Now we have to find a way to get it done.”
If Thursday’s sport stays shut within the late levels, the Bears will want somebody — ideally a number of someones — to make a giant play in a giant second. This group can’t proceed to boast that it’s “close” with out offering proof of a possible emergence, significantly in a house sport in opposition to a reeling opponent.
Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds will miss his second consecutive sport with a knee harm, one among 4 gamers the Bears declared out for Thursday’s sport. The others are guard Nate Davis (ankle), cornerback Terell Smith (mononucleosis) and fullback Khari Blasingame (concussion).
Quarterback Justin Fields (proper thumb) is listed as uncertain, and working again Khalil Herbert (ankle), large receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (hamstring) and cornerback Josh Blackwell (hamstring) are questionable as all three gamers eye a potential return from injured reserve.
For the Panthers, standout exterior linebacker Brian Burns (concussion and elbow) is out. Burns leads the staff with 5 sacks. Also out are large receiver Laviska Shenault (ankle), cornerback C.J. Henderson (concussion) and tight finish Stephen Sullivan (shoulder). Other notables on the harm report are large receiver D.J. Chark (uncertain, elbow) and security Vonn Bell (questionable, quadriceps).
Brad Biggs (5-4)
One factor Matt Eberflus and his employees did this season was get the Bears prepared for a Thursday night time sport in Week 5 at Washington. While this sport has little or no attraction to a nationwide tv viewers, it’s must-view materials for these hoping the Panthers’ first-round draft choose — which the Bears personal — turns into the No. 1 choice. It’s additionally a chance to see Bryce Young, whom the Panthers selected with the No. 1 choose the Bears traded. Carolina is available in beat up with out edge rusher Brian Burns (concussion), and Tyson Bagent shouldn’t be challenged with as many tight-window throws as he confronted Sunday in New Orleans. It won’t be fairly, however the Bears will discover a method to prevail.
Bears 23, Panthers 17
Colleen Kane (5-4)
This appears like a main alternative for the Bears to place collectively a kind of feel-good, full staff victories. A protection that gave the Bears an opportunity to win in opposition to the Saints may construct on that efficiency — and possibly its sacks and takeaways totals too — in opposition to Panthers quarterback Bryce Young. If Tyson Bagent minimizes errors and the Bears journey their working sport in opposition to a Panthers protection that ranks twenty eighth in opposition to the run, they’ll rapidly put the collapse on the Superdome behind them and head into the mini-bye feeling higher about the place they’re.
Bears 24, Panthers 17
Dan Wiederer (6-3)
Tyson Bagent will get a minimum of yet one more begin and may have a golden alternative for a bounce-back sport in opposition to a Panthers protection that will probably be with out its greatest participant in Brian Burns. Bagent must present significantly better ball safety however ought to proceed to get high quality assist from a dependable working assault and an bettering protection. The Bears can double-dip with a victory plus the ensuing enchancment of their draft standing through the first-round choose they obtained from the Panthers in March.
Bears 27, Panthers 19