They should be even more frustrated by the poor defensive effort on the final drive of the game, when Jay Cutler marched the Bears down the field. Cutler added insult to injury when he said later that the Panthers were "playing one coverage" the whole time.
"They were playing one coverage, and we just kept hitting them and hitting them and hitting them," Cutler said via the Chicago Tribune. "That's pretty much it."
Chicago's quarterback wasn't the only one who noticed the lack of diversity on the defensive side. Carolina safety Charles Godfrey said the Panthers kept the the same coverage the entire way down the field.
"They threw the same pass play all the way down the field,” Godfrey said per Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “It wasn't nothing they were doing. It was what we were in, the coverage we were in. That was a great play for that coverage, and they just ran that play all the way down the field.
"The coverage we were in, we stayed in that coverage. That's what happened."
"They did the same play at the end -- I think four or five times in a row -- and they got the win,” Munnerlyn said. "I just play the defense they call, but you gotta switch it up. I felt like Jay Cutler, he knew what we were in. So he knew the weakness of the defense, and they attacked it."
I went back and looked at the Bears' final drive, and all three of the comments above are accurate. The Bears ran eight plays on the drive, not including Robbie Gould's 41-yard kick. One (the last before the kick) was a run to Matt Forte to set up the Bears in position for the kick. Another was a pass over the middle to Forte.
The other six plays, all of which came consecutively, were identical -- Cutler took a snap out of the shotgun and threw the ball to either Brandon Marshall or Earl Bennett on a short-to-medium dig route.
On the series of plays, Cutler went 5-for-6 for 48 yards and did so in just about 90 seconds; Marshall was deemed down with 35 seconds left on the clock, and the first pass occurred with 2:02 on the clock.
The Panthers ended the game with one timeout, meaning they actually had an opportunity to recognize their coverage was getting methodically shredded and change things up. They didn't, and there should be some questions coming for the coaching staff. The players obviously have to execute on the play -- and they'll tell you as much -- but for a defensive-minded coach like Ron Rivera to allow the Bears that much movement down the field is just inexcusable. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott probably isn't feeling too comfortable today, either, even if the Panthers have shown defensive improvement thus far in 2012.
It's much easier to make coaching decisions away from the sidelines, particularly with the added benefit of hindsight. But throwing bland zone coverage at a team while they run the exact same play on repeat and pick up large chunks of yardage is not the sort of thing that helps people keep their jobs, especially at 1-6.
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