Welcome to the final installment of "Bear with us" this season. I'll be on vacation next week and fortunately will miss the final game of the season against Tampa Bay. Let's get to it.
The Bears will start at their own 20 after the kickoff went through the end zone. On first down Chris chandler dumps it up the middle to Leon Johnson for a few yards. ... Chandler then unloads to a wide-open Dez White way down field for a 76-yard touchdown pass and that barely woke Pat Summerall up. Nice play-action by Chandler.
Bears 7, Panthers 0
The Panthers feature Dee Brown heavily on their first possession and don't really get anywhere. A "head slap" penalty on tight end Wesley Walls moves them back 15 yards and basically puts an end to the drive. Here comes former Bear headache Todd Sauerbrun. Wonder if he's still going with the "Hang Time" license plates.
The Bears start just inside their own 20. Leon Johnson picks up about 5 yards on a straight ahead dive. And then is bottled up after a yard trying to go the outside. ... On third and 6, the Bears throw 3 yards to Johnson. That's more like the Bears we know. And out comes current punter Brad Maynard.
Rosevelt Colvin drags Brown down for no gain. ... Rodney Peete connects with Walls for a few and then Nick Goings breaks through the line for the first down. But the Bears defense stops them on as Summerall rambles on about his chiropractor. "Hang Time" comes on for another punt.
A friend writes in to ask if droning Pat Summerall could be any enthusiastic. No. Any less would be comatose. You get the feeling he's calling this game sitting down, leaning on an elbow.
Johnson runs for a few up the middle and Booker catches a short pass. Chandler then sails one to tight end John Gilmore for about 20 yards across midfield. ... A reverse to Ahmad Merritt backfires as the exchange is botched and Carolina falls on the ball.
Brown gets nothing on first down and then Peete twice throws incomplete and the Panthers will punt again.
After the touchback the Bears start at the 20 and rookie back Adrian Peterson picks up a yard. ... Chandler finds Gilmore over the middle for a short gain. ... Chandler tries to force it in to Johnson over the middle but it's broken up and the Bears will punt.
Carolina is getting nowhere by running Brown and a couple of short sideline patterns. ... But then Peete hits Steve Smith on a crossing pattern and he's gone in the open field. Jerry Azumah catches up to and slows Smith at the 10 and Mike Green takes him down inside the 5. Rookie Ro Williams was covering Smith on that play and really got burned. ... On first and goal, Brown scores.
Bears 7, Panthers 7
Merritt breaks a nice return out to the 40. But Chandler is sacked on first down by Al Wallace for a loss of 17. ... Chandler is hit as he throws and the ball goes straight up in the air and finally caught near the slideline by Peterson. The Bears are called for holding on the play but the Panthers decline. ... Now Carolina blitzes and Chandler is sacked near the goal line. The Bears went backwards 40 yards on that possession. Maynard punts and the Panthers will take over around midfield.
The Panthers go three and out but Merritt mishandles the punt and Carolina recovers at the 10. ... Peete finds Muhsin Muhammad, who fights his way to the 1. ... Peete fakes to Brown, rolls right and then has to throw it away. ... Brown scores his second touchdown of the day.
Panthers 14, Bears 7
Picking up where they left off the Bears can't move the ball. ... Johnson runs for nothing and then Chandler is pressured and nailed again. He's flagged for intentional grounding and has trouble getting up. Henry Burris is up and talking to John Shoop. Chandler is coming out with a bad shoulder and here's Burris. Burris rolls right and then throws left to no one. The Bears will punt.
Carolina can't go anywhere either. Alex Brown got close to Peete on third down and Ro Wiliams made a nice play breaking up the pass. Yet another punt.
It'll be interesting to see Burris on a full possession. I take that back. Burris scambles and drops the ball in a fit of panic. The Panthers recover.
Brown breaks inside the Bears' 30. ... Peete throws to the end zone and Ro Williams is called for pass interference. Questionable call there. There was no contact and the ball was way overthrown. ... Anyway, it moves the Panthers up to the 5. After a short run by Brown Peete guns it to Muhammad for a touchdown.
Panthers 21, Bears 7
Chandler leaves the sideline on a cart. And it looks like it's Burris for the rest of the game. Burris hands to Johnson for no gain on first down and then is sacked on second. Carolina blitzes and Burris nearly is buried again. He throws it away before getting nailed.
The Panthers start around midfield and Peete is sacked twice on the possession. Here's the two-minute warning before the punt.
The Bears quickly go three and out. The Panthers are really coming after Burris, with good reason. Maynard shanks the punt.
The last minute is taking an hour thanks to two reviews. The Bears got the ball back on downs after one lengthy review and now another one to determine where they get the ball after an apparent Panthers fumble on fourth and inches.
So the Bears get the ball back close to midfield with 21 seconds left. ... Burris takes a big drop and dumps one to Johnson for a few years. The Bears call timeout. ... Burris hits Robinson open in the middle of the field at the Carolina 30. The Bears quickly call timeout and Paul Edinger comes on for a 48-yard attempt. The Panthers use their final timeout to ice Edinger. That should be outlawed. It's time for lunch. Edinger's kick is blocked and nearly returned for a touchdown if not for Brian Urlacher. Halftime.
Steve Smith breaks the second-half kickoff upfield and Paul Edinger has to get in on the tackle. ... Brown runs for 7 on first down, but the Panthers stall right there. After two interceptions we have our first punt--of many to come--of the second half.
OK, here we go. More Henry Burris. Burris hands off to Johnson on first down for no gain. Burris' second-down effort is batted down at the line and the quarterback is hit as he throws on third. Punt.
The Panthers go three and out and punt and I'm starting to wonder why this game is even on TV.
Johnson runs for 5 yards on first down, the Bears' biggest gain in an hour. ... Johnons is stuffed on second and Burris throws it away on third down. Maynard comes on for the third punt of the young second half.
Brown spins his way to a first down, but pays for it. He comes off with an injured shoulder. ... Goings replaces Brown and is dragged down for no gain by Alex Brown. ... Now Joe Montgomery runs the ball and is leveled by Urlacher. ... On third down Peete is sacked by Joe Tafoya and Brian Knight. The fourth punt of the second half is fielded by Johnson who returns it to the Bears' 44.
There have been 17 punts so far.
The Bears stick to the ground, as Adrian Peterson and Leon Johnson combine for a first down. ... Johnson is then stuffed on third and 2 and Maynard comes on for punt No. 18. Time to start looking up the record for punts in a game.
Facing third and 8, Peete finds Isaac Byrd up the middle for about 20. ... Montgomery then runs twice for for about 6 yards as the quarter ends.
OK, in case you're wondering, fittinginly, the Bears own the record for most punts in a game with 17. They're also part of the combined record of 31 from that same game, Oct. 22, 1933 against the Packers. The T formation wasn't working that day. That last Panthers first down may have taken us off record pace.
Peete goes long down the sideline but Ro Williams breaks it up. That means punt. No, Larry Whigham jumps offsides and the Panthers get a first down. Larry, you're messing with history.
Desparetly trying to talk about something--anything--Pat Summerall just asked partner Brian Baldinger, "How do you think Bill Parcells would look with a star on his helmet?" Do coaches wear helmets?
Peete scrambles and fumbles and Urlacher recovers and sprints down the sideline before being knocked out inside the 10. ... The Bears are backed up as Gilmore is flagged for a false start. ... Burris keeps it himself and takes a shot at the 5. I think Marty Booker is the next option at quarterback. ... On third and goal, Burris rolls left, looks, looks and finally finds Dez White in the back of the end zone. Nice play by Burris there.
Panthers 21, Bears 14
The Panthers march down field on the strenth of a 14-yard pass to Goings and a 15-yarder to Smith. ... Byrd drops a third down pass and Sauerbrun trots on for a Panthers record 10th punt in the game, which rolls into the end zone.
Burris is stripped on first down and the Panthers recover.
Dee Brown is back in there for Carolina. He runs three times for nothing and the fans let them have it. Shayne Graham's 25-yard kick is good.
Panthers 24, Bears 14
Burris finds Booker and Johnson for short gains to bring up third and 6 from their own 20. ... Burris misses Booker and the Bears will punt. Byrd fields the punt is absolutely tattooed by Rabih Abdullah. Abdullah has done that a number of times this year.
I was busy reading my e-mail and didn't catch what happened in the Panthers' possession. I looked up just in time to catch another punt.
With three receivers right, Burris finds Booker for an 8-yard gain. ... Burris then goes deep to Robinson, who drops the ball after taking a hit. ... Booker catches it on the run and stretches for the first down.
Breaking news: Cincinnati is about to beat New Orleans. This is good for the Bears' draft standing, as long as they don't go and blow it by pulling this game out.
Burris throws two incompletions and is faced with third and 10. He takes off himself and slides for the first. The Bears, somehow, are out of timeouts. Did I miss this? Burris misses Robinson but it stops the clock with 2:24. Burris telegraphs his next throw so bad that linebacker Will Witherspoon nearly spears it out of the air. Third and 10, Burris is pressured and throws it away. Offsides on Carolina gives the Bears another down for Burris to work his magic. On third and five the Bears throw underneath for 3 yards and Booker fails to get out of bounds. No matter, the two-minute warning stops the clock. This should give John Shoop & Co. plenty of time to devise a surefire fourth-down play. My prediction: the dreaded wide-receiver screen. You watch. Well, it was worse. Burris rolled right and then tried to shot put it end over end to Booker. Needless to say it didn't work.
Because the Bears are out of timeouts, the Panthers can kill two minutes off the clock with a few knees. A fitting ending for this game.
This one mercifully comes to an end. Remember, there will be no "Bear with us" next week, because, as I said, I'll be away. But I'd like to thank everyone who read and wrote in this season. Thanks. It was fun. We'll probably be back for the Cubs-Sox games. Take care.
PANTHERS 24, BEARS 14