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Chicago Bears Defeat Woeful Carolina Panthers

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The Chicago Bears defeated the Carolina Panthers, increasing their prospects of being selected first overall in the NFL Draft the following year in a low-scoring game on Thursday,.

Chicago defeated the Panthers 16–13 when Bears running back D’Onta Foreman scored the only offensive touchdown of the game on a rush and Panthers kicker Eddy Pineiro missed a field goal that would have tied the score in the fourth quarter.

Chicago has a great chance to select first overall in the 2024 NFL Draft after the Bears traded the Panthers’ first-round pick, quarterback Bryce Young, to them for a plethora of picks, including Carolina’s 2024 first-round selection. The Panthers’ terrible start to the season and their league-worst record of 1-8 means that Chicago will be the favorite to select first overall in 2024.

The draft of the following year is widely anticipated due to the presence of two highly regarded quarterbacks: Drake Maye of North Carolina and Caleb Williams of USC, who will lead a talented class.

Due to injury, the Bears’ starting quarterback Justin Fields was sidelined for the game on Thursday. Undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent took his position in the starting lineup.

Bagent entered the league with minimal fanfare, but he has since demonstrated why he was so successful at Shepard University: he minimizes errors to give his team the best opportunity to win.

The team’s sole opportunity to reach the end zone in the game came from Foreman’s score, but the Bears defense, which included the recently acquired Montez Sweat in its ranks, did enough to slow down the Panthers. Sweat recorded the most pressures on the squad in his debut game after being moved from the Washington Commanders, eight to be exact.

With two wins in his first four NFL starts, Bagent has already surpassed Young’s total for his brief NFL career—young is the player the Panthers moved up to obtain.

The Panthers quarterback had yet another difficult game on Thursday, going 21 of 38 for 185 yards and no touchdowns. What was most telling about the performance, though, was that head coach Frank Reich chose to attempt a 59-yard field goal rather than try to extend the drive on a fourth-and-10 when Carolina needed a score.

After Pineiro missed the long field goal, Carolina’s disappointing tenure under Young continued.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette, who ran back a punt return 79 yards to the house to score Carolina’s lone touchdown against his previous team, was the only true bright spot in the game.

Bears hero Foreman, who played with the Panthers the previous season and finished with career-high numbers of 914 rushing yards and five touchdowns after taking over as the starting running back after Christian McCaffrey, a former standout running back from Carolina, was traded to the San Francisco 49ers, had a bittersweet game.

Playing against many of his former teammates, he made an impression. In the third quarter, he scored a four-yard touchdown run that ended up being the game’s winning score.

“[The emotions were] kind of high, really, all day it was high, but when the game came, I just had to calm down and understand that it’s just another game, and just go out there and play my game. Don’t try to do too much, just stay in the moment, and I feel like I did that,” Foreman told reporters after the game.

With the win, Chicago’s season record now stands at 3-7, two games ahead of Carolina’s lowest in the league.

“It means a lot to get the victory, and that has nothing to do with the team we played,” Foreman said. “It was just us in this locker room, and everything we’ve been going through all year and really needing this win to try and get these guys rallied back up.

“And I really think that if we can just stay together and the defense plays like they did tonight, we’re going to get more wins for sure.”

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