Thursday Night Football Week 10: Bryce Young and Carolina Tangle with Host Bears

Nov 5, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) hopes to have time to pass the ball against a vulnerable Chicago Bears defense: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) hopes to have time to pass the ball against a vulnerable Chicago Bears defense: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina (1-7) at Chicago (2-7), Thursday Night Football, Amazon Prime, 8:15 p.m. ET


With quarterback Justin Fields listed as “doubtful” for Thursday’s matchup against Carolina, Tyler Bagent is expected to start for Chicago once again — though as far as Bears fans are concerned, Fields and his dislocated thumb could not do worse than Bagent did against New Orleans last Sunday. 


The backup QB had a fourth quarter to forget against the Saints, throwing two interceptions and fumbling away Chicago’s last opportunity to drive and tie a game they evenutally lost, 24-17.


With that late-game meltdown still fresh in the memory banks, the Bears on Thursday will likely lean on their rushing attack, which surprisingly leads the NFC with an average of 135 yards per outing. D’Onta Foreman, a former Panther, and Khalil Hebert lead the way with 287 and 272 yards rushing, respectively. 


When the Bagent and the Bears avoid turnovers, they can produce points (20.9 average per game). Chicago is also top ten in the NFL in red-zone offense. Tight end Cole Kmet (five TD catches) grabbed two touchdown passes against the Saints and is emerging as a legitimate red-zone threat. What the Bears need to do, starting with the Carolina game, is to rediscover another former Carolina Panther, receiver DJ Moore, who has not caught a touchdown since his three-TD, 230-yard outburst against Washington more than a month ago. 


For Carolina, the first half of Bryce Young’s first season is almost in the bag. And the bag is a mixed one. Young served up three interceptions against the Colts, including a brutal third-quarter pick-six with the Panthers driving. Whether Young is hitting a rookie wall and entering a pattern of mistake-prone play is something to keep an eye on against the Bears. 


If Young gets time on Thursday, he will seek out veteran wideout Adam Thielen, whose resurgent 2023 season includes a striking 62 catches for 610 yards. The Bears come in with the league’s 28th-ranked pass defense (though hoping that newcomer Montez Sweat bolsters the pass rush), so this week seems is as good as any for Young and the Panthers’ passing game to jump to a new level. 


But will the Panthers’ leaky O-line give Young the time to do so?

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