According to Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte, in sports, you're not out of a game unless you stop believing you can win. Such was the case with his football team on Sunday, where nothing went right for Chicago's offense through three quarters.
"If you are going to win, you have to believe you will win even when things are not going your way," Forte said after the game.
The Bears erased a 19-7 deficit heading into the fourth quarter and squeaked out a 23-22 home victory over the Carolina Panthers. Despite the Panthers coming into the game with a 1-5 record, they gave the Bears everything they could handle. If not for some late-game mistakes, they likely would have handed Chicago their second loss of the 2012 season.
"The Panthers came out with a strong offense today," Forte said. "We all were aware that they'd lost four in a row coming up to today. What we saw out there was a dynamic offense that was able to move the ball. It was our job as an offense to perform similarly, and other than that early first-quarter drive that resulted in a touchdown, our level of play was not where it should have been."
The Bears ended the contest with just 210 total yards, 116 of which came in the fourth quarter, against a defense ranked 21st in the league heading into the game.
The club's ineptitude on offense forced them to run the no-huddle offense late in the game to try and gain momentum – a tactic that helped the Bears pull out the comeback victory.
"Our game plan going in was to huddle, then drive the ball down the field," Forte said. "It went well at first. We changed things up with pass and run plays and that seemed effective, but then the Panthers defense geared up some."
The Bears had just 60 total yards of offense late in the third quarter before a pair of Earl Bennett catches – which totaled 35 yards, more than half of the team's output up to that point – got the offense back in a groove.
"Earl Bennett saved the game for us," Forte said. "He got in there with some crucial catches, moving us down the field when we needed that most."
The game came down to a 41-yard field goal for Robbie Gould, who missed a 33 yarder earlier in the contest. Yet despite the miss, Forte knew Gould would redeem himself with the game winner.
"Not a doubt in my mind," Forte said. "As I said, if you are going to win, you must always believe you can win."
Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 12 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.