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Bears not looking past Panthers

Posted by Larry Mayer on October 24, 2012 – 4:53 pm

Although it’s a mismatch on paper, the red-hot Bears don’t intend to take the struggling Carolina Panthers lightly Sunday at Soldier Field, especially after what transpired last season.

The Bears edged the Panthers 34-29 last Oct. 2 in Chicago, but not before they had allowed 543 total yards, the most in a game since Mike Ditka’s first season as coach in 1982.

“Last year Carolina gave us all we wanted,” said coach Lovie Smith. “It was a tough game. I think they had an onside kick at the end of the game, so that tells you what type of football game it was.

“Our defense has been playing good football throughout the year. But Carolina put over 500 yards on us last year, so it will be a big test. I know what their record is, 1-5, and they haven’t played as well as they would like. But they are definitely capable.”

That’s certainly true of quarterback Cam Newton, who has struggled in his second season after excelling as a rookie in 2011. In last year’s game against the Bears, Newton passed for 374 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 35 yards and two TDs without being sacked.

“[He presents] all types of problems,” Smith said. “First off, just raw ability. He’s fast. He’s big. He’s got a strong arm. He’s mobile in the pocket. He can make all the throws.

“And then they do a good job of letting him display all of those talents. They’ll have some option plays that normally are reserved for quarterbacks that can run. When things break down, just him taking off in the pocket. That gives defenses as much of a problem as anything.”

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