Thursday Night Football: Panthers lead Bears 10-9 at halftime

A game between teams with a combined 3-14 record is going as expected.

The Panthers lead the Bears 10-9 at halftime.

Chicago has outplayed Carolina offensively, with more plays (42 to 24), more yards (205 to 97) and more first downs (13 to 6). But the Bears have settled for field goals of 54, 36 and 39 from Cairo Santos, with the last coming on the final play of the half.

The Bears’ three scoring drives ended at the 36, 18 and 21.

Carolina, though, leads as a result of Ihmir Smith-Marsette‘s 79-yard punt return for a touchdown. It was the Panthers’ first return for a touchdown since Nov. 26, 2017, against the Jets, and Smith-Marsette became the seventh player in franchise history with a punt return touchdown.

The Panthers’ four drives have been nine plays for 32 yards, eight plays for 60 yards, three plays for minus-6 yards and five plays for 21 yards.

Bryce Young is only 7-of-14 for 63 yards. He also has rushed for 16 yards on two carries and two first downs. Adam Thielen has three catches for 8 yards. Forty-five of Young’s passing yards came on a pass to practice squad player Mike Strachan to set up a 33-yard field goal by Eddy Pineiro.

Bears rookie Tyler Bagent is 14-of-24 for 127 yards. He led the Bears on a nine-play, 70-yard drive on the final drive of the half.

DJ Moore has four catches for 49 yards against his former team.

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