Bears vs. Panthers post-game quotes

Read below what the Chicago Bears players and coaches had to say after Sunday's 23-22 victory over the Carolina Panthers.


Opening Statement
"We talk always about playing 60 minutes. You know, two halves to a game and all that coach talk, but it really did come down to that today. First off, you have to give the Carolina Panthers a lot of credit. Ron Rivera had them ready to play. They came out and played hard, like they've been playing all year. And a lot of things that went wrong for us early on were more what they were doing and them playing better football than we were. We were able to get the game going with Matt Forte early on, but passing game-wise - and then just the pressure they gave with their front - really took us out of our game plan. On the defensive side, they had a lot of yards today. They kept drives going. They were converting third downs. They were just doing everything right in the first half. But we kind of got it together there late and got momentum going. Last week, we let Charles Tillman know he was going to have tough duty all day. He knew exactly who he'd be guarding, shadowing him the entire game. We did the same thing with Tim Jennings this week with Steve Smith. Thought he did a great job. Steve Smith had some plays – of course he's a great player too. But after all these things happen late, we needed to play. I thought our fans were outstanding right before Tim Jennings intercepted the pass before the touchdown. That's as loud as I've heard it in a long time. They did a great job giving us momentum with this. But that play was big and from there, defense couldn't let them score anymore. And then at the end, it came down to a two-minute drive that we practice, of course, each week, but that's why we say we have a special quarterback. Jay completing passes when we had to make a play. Brandon Marshall, of course, catching. The line worked a lot better that second half. There's no such thing as an ugly win. To me, the team that deserves the win always ends up on top at the end. We'll definitely cherish this."

On if it's safe to say that the defense energizes the offense with a play like Tim Jennings'
"Yes. Today, the big play by Tim definitely did. It got everyone going. Once you get a little bit of life -- I can't say we didn't have life before -- but things just weren't going our way. As for energizing, yeah, you need someone to come up and make a play and he did."

On Jay's performance
"The part that I can really remember - a lot of things are going through my head – is that last drive. When you're a great quarterback, most of the time in the league it's going to come down – no matter what happens early on – what you do in the fourth quarter, what you do with two minutes left to go in the game. And to Jay, getting us in position. Robbie Gould won't miss a lot of field goals and that's why it was important for us to get him back into position. I've been on the sideline a lot of times when he's kicked the winning field goal.

On what it like celebration-wise in the locker room and if the room was subdued or relieved at all
"No relief. It's never subdued when you win. It's so hard winning in the league, and of course, the way we did. But every game is important and that's what you saw from their reaction."

On what the primary reason was for Jay's six sacks in the first half, and if Jay held the ball too long
"I didn't realize it was six sacks until now. That's too many, of course. Without looking at the video, it would be hard for me to say. Normally it's a combination of both. So something we'll definitely have to correct."

On his philosophy for keeping everything together
"I think the guys have been around here a long time. We have great depth in leadership. And you know that it's going to come down, normally, to that two-minute situation on who makes the play then. We were at home, so a lot of things were in our favor and the guys stepped up."

On how encouraging it was that today didn't end with a loss
"During the course of the year, you're going to go through games like this when it's tough. You've got to really just fight to get a win, but the good teams, at the end, find a way to win – like this – when you didn't play your best ball for 60 minutes. But, no matter how you start, it's about how you finish and that's what the guys will take from this game."

On if there were any signs of a let down and if that's inevitable after a Monday night game
"It would be easy for me to say that, given what the statistics say about after Monday, but I can't. We didn't play well. I didn't get the team ready to play for whatever reason. We'll be in this situation again this year and we just have to make sure it doesn't happen again."

On how you get the offense clicking again like he did before
"I wish I could answer those questions right now. Just going to go back to the practice field, look at the video. There's a lot of things that we won't like, but we'll just start correcting them from there."

On if anyone understood the rule on the 2-point conversion
"Well, if we chased it down, I suppose it would hard to say ‘yeah, we definitely understood it,' but yes, we understood it, but we didn't handle it as well. Neither side. There are a lot of other things I'm going to talk about, but we're not going to go there right now."

On if there was any apprehension about Jay playing with bruised ribs
"We just knew as we evaluated him and how he practiced last week that he didn't have any pain with what we put him through. It wasn't like we were letting him take shots through the week to see. You had to get to the game, which we were. He took an early shot, the first play, but, like Jay, he got up."

On if that hit affected Jay for the rest of the game
"Again, I wish I knew these things. I don't know. I didn't get a shot to the ribs and I didn't have my best performance today. A lot of others can say the same thing.

On if he was surprised by the way Carolina was kicking off and punting
"No, I know Devin, lately, hasn't had a lot of big returns for touchdowns, but it's just a matter of time. And when you've been in that position before, I mean, he scored on them last year. Whether he would have scored or not, they took that part of the game away. I know we had great field position, but you can't say much about their game plan. It kept them in a position to win.

On if he could talk about the decision to go with Tim Jennings over Charles Tillman this week, given Charles performance last week
"It's body type. It's as simple as that. As we see big receivers, as a general rule, we're going to put our big corner on. And we're going to look at the skill set a bit too. You know, guys about the same height, weight, both have good quickness, so the match up is as much as anything. We have two, ‘one' corners so they realize throughout the course of the year who they'll be matched up against most of the year.

QB Jay Cutler

On if ribs were affected at all today
"Ah no. Didn't really feel them. No one played well. I didn't play well. It starts with me. Offensively, those first three and a half quarters were just ugly. Getting good field position, defense was fighting their butts off (offense) just couldn't get it going."

On if they took the run away from them or if it was just not there
"I don't think they really took anything away from us. I think we just didn't execute, honestly. Things were there, I was missing throws, dropped balls, didn't protect very well. So you go down the line. There was mistake after mistake. It's just something we have to clean up. We're a better team than that. Second half of the fourth quarter, so eight minutes of the game, we played well. Other than that, didn't play very well."

On if having slow starts has made him worry
"No. I mean were not worried. I don't think you can hit the panic button offensively. We just need to keep getting better. We have to keep looking at our mistakes, keep improving and keep trying to work on things week-in and week-out. It's never easy in this league. Getting a win is a win. It's hard work. This team, we play as we're down to the tooth-and-nail against most of the teams in this league. To get out with a ‘W,' we're happy, but, any time you win, there's always things to improve on, just like a loss, so we have to keep getting better."

On what the difference was on the last drive
"We had a lot of time. They were playing one coverage and we just kept hitting them and hitting them and hitting them. That's pretty much it."

On how much it energizes the offense when the defense makes a big play like Jennings'
"It happens a lot around here. I think we are getting a little bit used to it. We knew something was going to happen and those guys were going to make some play for us and they did. It always comes at big time in games, it seems like. They make the big plays and they're ability to create turnovers is fun to watch."

On if he feels he could have avoided some of the sacks
"I mean I always feel like I can avoid them. Didn't move as well as I thought I wanted to. I need to take a look at the film and see where the holes were. I kept asking JB [Jeremy Bates] and J-Cam [Jason Campbell] if I was staying in there too long or what the deal is. We just have to take a look at offensive film and talk to the offensive line to see their take on it and fix it on Tuesday."

On crowd energizing them in fourth quarter before Jennings got the touchdown but going in for half and how booing them made him feel and his reaction
"You know, B (Brandon Marshall) asked me, he said, they're booing us out there. I mean I'd boo us too. I told those guys it was a boo-worthy performance if you will. It was pathetic offensively what we put out there. It wasn't up to standard, product-wise. We have to get better, we know that, our fans know that. Luckily enough we got out of there with a win but the first half is nothing to be proud of."

On having six sacks in first half and none in second and the difference
"We ran the ball. I got rid of the ball. I think we started getting some timing patterns and just trying to get rid of the ball. We weren't even going to mess with the o-line. (I) wanted to get rid of it before they even got back to me. (We) made some adjustments, I think Mike Tice did a good job of handling that game even though he was calling good stuff early on we just weren't executing them."

On if it makes it easier to make corrections because they're winning games
"Everything is easier when you win games. Period. If we would have lost that game it would have been a much different attitude in this press room and in that locker room. As long as you're winning games, you're heading in the right direction you can find ways to fix things and stay positive and keep moving on. So that's what we have to do. We have to keep moving and offensively keep getting better and better and trying to help that defense a little bit more than what we are doing."

WR Brandon Marshall

On how you deal with this one? More of a sigh of relief than a celebration?
"You enjoy it. Whenever you get a win in the National Football league, you enjoy it. It's hard to come by. Like Jay [Cutler] said, everything is easier when you win. But we also are smart to know that we have a lot of work to get done. It's good where we are at right now, but we are a team that really thinks big, we dream big so to achieve those things we have to get better."

On in his opinion, what was going wrong in the first half
"You know what, just execution. Poor execution. I dropped a ball by myself, a tight end drops a ball. A running back drops a ball. A missed block here. We were just taking turns not making the play but the thing I liked about today was we played from behind. Last time we did that we lost so it was great work for us. You have to give credit to where credit is due. Carolina, they came in here and put it to us. But we responded well that last drive."

On what was different on the last drive
"Cutler. That's when you want that type of quarterback. I looked up at the clock; I think it was around 2:45 left. You just made a field goal. Brought the score 22-20 and he gets up smiling. I'm sitting here shaking, a little bit of the cold weather, a little bit nervous and he just starts smiling like well, here we go and just put me at ease right away and the guys feel that vibe and they play off of it. So, Jay definitely led that hole to that drive and made us pick up our game."

On if it made it easier with what the Panthers were doing
"No. I mean like I said, it came down to execution. At the beginning, Coach Tice was calling a great game and we just weren't capitalizing on those opportunities."

On if he remembers being in a 2 minute drive with Jay before
"That takes me back to 2008 in Denver where it was the same type of game up in Buffalo and we ran the same play all the way down the field. Jamal Walker and Jay just drove us all the way down the field. If teams want to play that way we're going to take advantage of those opportunities, but at the same time, if they want to cheat a little bit over to me, we got Earl [Bennett] in the slot and other guys, Devin Hester on the other side, that can make plays. Today Earl Bennett got us going. I don't know if you guys heard the crowd when Earl finally made a play after us being so stagnant and the crowd just erupted and he made another big play. We just jumped on his back for that drive and got it going after."

On what it's like for him to watch this defense play
"It's exciting. Just like Jay said, we have to give them a little help. At the same time, we have to get better. We are going to enjoy this win, but when we get back to work on Tuesday we're going to put our hard hats on. I think the leaders need to step up and start pushing ourselves and the other guys around us just a little bit more because we have a great opportunity ahead of us and we don't want to miss out on the things that are in store for us."

On having troubles this year and if it starts to worry him at this time of the year
"No. I mean every team, Super Bowl team, undefeated teams, they're not perfect. There's things where they struggle at, but the thing about those teams that make them great is they continue to work and when you do that you have a chance to continue to get better. There's no substitute for hard work."

On if he's surprised they didn't change anything up on the last drive
"Well if they did we were going to have Earl [Bennett] down the pipe so we were waiting for them to cheat a little bit to my side and we were going to take advantage of Earl in the slot. They didn't do that and we just stuck to it. So if it's not broke, don't fix it."

On if he got banged up at all on the leg
"Yeah. I did. Just got tripped up, felt a little tweak but it's one of those things where you just have to walk it off and it goes away. Feel great now and was able to finish the game."

On if there were any games where they were being too casual at the beginning knowing they could do it at the end like that
"Not at all. I wish we could say we had that type of team, but right now our defense has been playing great and they've really been keeping us in ball games and dominating. We've just been average or good. We want to be better than good, we want to be great. To do that we just have to continue to work."


On whether the Bears "stole" the game
"It was a hard-fought win. I don't feel like we stole it, we went out and made plays when we needed to and won the game."

On if Tim Jennings pick-six ignited the offense
"Yeah, now we got the fourth phase back into it. And we just really, really, had to continue doing what we were doing all season long, which was moving the ball and put points on the board."

On Brandon Marshall's play at the end of the game
"Coach [Tice] did a great job in the two minute drive, calling the plays and they kept the same defense. We kept doing what we had to do to make plays."

On his late-game injury
"I'm good. I had the wind knocked out of me, but I'm alright."

On the defense putting points on the board
"Those guys are scoring a lot. They just make us want to pick it up, score more. Those guys are doing a great job. We have to continue to put more points on the board and help those guys out a lot better."


On defending Carolina WR Steve Smith
"When you're playing a guy like Steve, you're going to win some, lose some, but in the end you have to keep playing. You saw what two-six [Tim Jennings] did, he kept playing. He played through adversity. Big time players make big plays and he came through when he needed to. He's my hero [laughter]."

On winning when not playing their best
"We didn't, but I think you learn a lot from a game like this. We were down the whole game, but we kept playing, kept playing, kept playing, keep pushing through. It was an ugly win, but it was a win. We definitely have a lot of corrections to make. We can take some good off of this, but we have to learn from it. We started off slow, so thank God there are two halves to a game."

On Tim Jennings chasing down Brandon LaFell
"Great play, keep pushing through, keep playing. You never know what's going to happen, so that's why you have to keep playing. Coach is always is talking about it. I think we learned a lot about our team today."


On today's win
"That was an ugly one. Offense didn't play well, defense didn't play well. Special teams we didn't get any big plays. But we just had to keep fighting."

On whether the defense felt it had to create a turn-over
"That's our mentality. Every time we're out there we feel like we have to get some take-aways. Any time we get our hands on the ball we want to score because that's going to give us a better chance to win."

On defending Steve Smith
"He's a Pro Bowl receiver. He's been doing this for a while, he's going to make some plays. I had to step-up to the challenge and minimize his ability."

On whether Cam Newton was locked-in on Steve Smith
"Oh yeah, most definitely. We've been watching film, that's the guy. Eighty-nine [Steve Smith] is the guy. We locked in on him all week and had a great week of practice. We know that's a tough team, we have to take our hats off to Carolina."

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