News & Analysis

NFL Week 6 PFF ReFocused: Chicago Bears 23, Carolina Panthers 16

Oct 18, 2020; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) is tackled by Chicago Bears strong safety Tashaun Gipson (38) and Chicago Bears inside linebacker Danny Trevathan (59) in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t pretty, but things rarely have been for the Bears this season. At the end of the day, it was once again the defense and a trio of interceptions that swayed the tide in favor of Chicago. They move to 5-1 and in a commanding position for a wild card spot while the Panthers drop to 3-3 and are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.

Story of the Game

Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way, and that was a fair assessment of how things went for the Panthers. Teddy Bridgewater’s early interception was forced a bit into a tight window on a hitch, but normally passes broken up on such plays fall harmlessly to the turf. This time it bounced up into the waiting arms of Tashaun Gipson and gave the Bears a short field for their first score. He wasn’t helped out much by his receivers on the day, as the Panthers weapons combined for five drops.

One guy for the Bears defense that made life difficult for Bridgewater was linebacker Roquan Smith. He had 15 combined tackles on the day including three stops in coverage. He also forced an incompletion in what was his best outing of the season.

The Bears and Nick Foles didn’t fare too much better offensively than the Panthers. He couldn’t find much of anything down the field and had an average depth of target of only 5.8 yards on the day. For the game, only five of his 39 pass attempts were completions targeted 10 or more yards downfield. 

Rookie Watch

This was the best outing we’ve seen from top-10 pick Derrick Brown as a pass rusher so far. He registered two pressures on 31 pass-rushes and added two-run stops for good measure. He wasn’t the only Panthers rookie defender making his presence felt. Jeremy Chinn also had a career day with a crucial pick as well as a pass-breakup. 

Oct 18, 2020; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Chicago Bears tight end Cole Kmet (85) with the ball as Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Tahir Whitehead (52) and outside linebacker Jeremy Chinn (21) defend in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

On the other side of the ball, it was a very up and down day for Jaylon Johnson. He allowed four of seven targets for 115 yards and was also flagged for a questionable pass interference on D.J. Moore that moved the Panthers down to the goal line. You still saw his playmaking ability, though, as he also broke up two passes, including one that led to Tashaun Gipson’s interception. We also saw the Bears' top draft choice from last April make a play for the first time all year, as Cole Kmet’s second career catch came in traffic in the end zone for the Bears' first score of the day.

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