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Dez White posted the first two-touchdown game of his three-year career Sunday and did it with a little bit of schoolyard flair.
White's 76-yard touchdown pass from Chris Chandler on the game's second play was little more than a "run-and-get-open play, " said White. He also scored on a 5-yard pass from Henry Burris in the fourth quarter, White's only other catch of the game.
"We knew [the left] side of the field was going to get open because of Marty [Booker] coming across and getting some attention from the safety. That was in the game plan for me just to run and get open. It's not really a defined route. It's something inside, but it's anything on that side of the field and I can go anywhere."
Booker drew considerable attention from the Panthers throughout the game. He finished with five catches and has 93 for the season, tying Johnny Morris' 1964 total for second behind Booker's 100 of last season. He has 1,164 receiving yards after being limited to 20 by Carolina, his second fewest this season. He was held to 14 yards in the loss at Detroit.
Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher needed nine tackles to pass Dick Butkus' 190 in 1972 for the Bears' all-time mark for a single season. He was initially credited with a game-high 11, including 10 solos, a total likely to increase once game films are reviewed.
"All of a sudden everybody loves him again," defensive coordinator Greg Blache said. "A few weeks ago [the media] were talking about trading him and that he wasn't a middle 'backer. All I can say is I'm glad he's my middle 'backer. He's a pretty darn good football player."
Paul Edinger's 48-yard field-goal attempt on the last play of the first half was blocked by Kris Jenkins, the first time Edinger had had a kick blocked since his junior year at Michigan State. The Bears had not had a kick blocked since December 1997. Edinger had gone 168 combined NFL field-goal and extra-point attempts without a block.
"It felt good, but I'll have to seeI might have kicked the ball low," Edinger said. "I've kicked low balls before and gotten lucky and had them get through."
The teams combined for 21 punts, 10 by Brad Maynard and 11 by Carolina's Todd Sauerbrun. Maynard bested the former Bear and NFC Pro Bowl punter with a 44.6-yard average to Sauerbrun's 40.3, although Sauerbrun placed five inside the opposing 20-yard line to Maynard's three.
Receiver/returner Ahmad Merritt did not help his stock with coaches when he fumbled a handoff from Chandler on an end-around, then was charged with a muff when he completely misplayed a punt at the Bears' 11 in the second quarter. Merritt previously was charged with a giveaway when he fumbled a punt in the win over Detroit.
Merritt was pulled and replaced on the next return by running back Leon Johnson, for whom Merritt had taken over after Johnson was elevated to starting tailback.
The Panthers' blitzing of Chandler and Burris resulted in four sacks and repeated pressures, but the Bears did some damage of their own with blitzes.
Linebacker Mike Caldwell collected his third sack of the season with a takedown of Rodney Peete in the second quarter. Joe Tafoya was credited with his first sack when he shared a tackle of Peete in the third quarter with rookie Bryan Knight.
Former Bears left tackle Andy Heck renewed acquaintances with a number of Bears on Sunday.
Heck was one of the Bears' first major free-agent signings when he came from Seattle to Chicago in 1994 with quarterback Erik Kramer, fullback Merril Hoge and tailback Lewis Tillman. Heck and his family were in Charlotte in preparation for the Continental Tire Bowl next weekend between West Virginia and Virginia.
Heck is a graduate assistant on the Virginia coaching staff.
Out of action
Injuries again made it easy for the Bears to select inactives, with tight end John Davis (back), cornerback R.W. McQuarters (hip), safety Damon Moore (leg) and defensive linemen Christian Peter (leg) and John Stamper (shoulder) inactive along with offensive linemen Aaron Gibson and Josh Warner. Moore tested his leg by running before the game for the second straight week but ruled himself out.