Coming into the matchup between the Panthers and Bears, everybody spoke of the mighty Bears defense. They had an amazing run this season by allowing fewer than double digit points per game at home this season. With a week off and the media attention hyping them up, they lost their defensive edge.
The Bears were definitely rusty and unprepared in this game. They had a week off to heal their wounds and to review video tape but the week off also took away their sharpness on the field. They were so successful defensively because they would be able to swarm to the ball in record time. Yesterday as Smith was running all over them, their ability to swarm to the ball was questionable.
The Panthers also did a great job at picking apart the Bears defense early. The Steelers did much of the same against the Colts by getting to them early. The rustiness of the team off of a bye will not last forever so the Panthers knew to pass the ball early hitting big plays and getting the early touchdown.
The Bears offense looked great this game and for people to question their offense would be a mistake. It is also a mistake for people to blame their defense for this loss because without them, they would not have been in the playoffs.
If anything, blame should be placed on Lovie Smith for not preparing his team for the speed and intensity of a real game. He also made very little defensive adjustments at half time to give his team a chance to win. There was also a very poor game plan heading into the game to defend Steve Smith.