Chicago Sky’s Sylvia Fowles goes up for a shot against Indiana Fever’s Tangela Smith during the third quarter of a WNBA basketball game in Rosemont, Ill. Indiana won 88-80. AP/Paul Beaty
Bears running back Matt Forte ran for 205 yards against the Panthers, second best one-game rushing total in team histo- ry, tying Gale Sayers and Walter Payton. Payton holds the record with 275 yards. Defender/Worsom Robinson
Bears run over Carolina Panthers by Todd Thomas DEFENDER CONTRIBUTING WRITER
The Chicago Bears have a long way to go before they regain their Monsters of the Midway title, but they were good enough Sunday afternoon to defeat the Carolina Panthers 34-29 before 62,135 at Soldier Field.
The home team won this game with exceptional special teams and great run- ning. The defense wasn't up to par and gave up 543 total yards to Carolina. Quarterback Jay Cutler underperformed, completing just 9 of 17 passes for 102 yards and a pass- er rating of 46.7.
Rookie quarterback Cam Newton gave the Bears fits throughout the game while compiling some pretty heady statistics (27 of 46 for 374 yards 1 TD, 35 yards rushing and two touchdowns) and proving that his first three impressive outings in the NFL were no fluke.
On the first drive of the game Newton and running back DeAngelo Williams 10 rushes for 82 yards) drove down the field against a porous Bear defense and Olindo Mare knocked in a 29-yard field goal for an early 3-0 lead.
Then it was Bears running back Matt Forte’s time to make his presence felt, and
on the second play from scrimmage he broke free for a 46-yard run. The drive stalled however, and they had to settle for a 20-yard field goal by Robbie Gould to even the score 3-3.
Forte would go on to have a career day (25 rushes for 205 yards and 1 touchdown), joining Bears’ greats Walter Payton and Gale Sayers as the only other players in team history to run for over 200 yards in a game.
“Downhill running is what gets the run- ning game started,” Forte said. “We started running downhill in the first quarter and then kept it going throughout the entire game.”
The Chicago defense soon got in on the scoring action as well, when cornerback D.J. Moore intercepted a tipped Cam Newton pass and ran it in from 20 yards out for a TD to put the Bears up 10-3. Showing a lot of poise for a rookie, Newton took the reigns for Carolina and deftly ran 14 yards for a big first down. Soon after that he found veteran wide receiver Steve Smith for a 53-yard comple- tion to the Bear 1 yard line. The 6-foot-5, 248 pound Newton ran it in himself and the extra point evened the score 10-10. But in the blink of an eye return sensa- tion Devin Hester returned the Panther
kickoff 73 yards. Cutler went to work on the short field and hit Roy Williams for a first down. Then Forte continued his impressive body of work on the day by run- ning it in from 17 yards.
Hester was not done yet, and at the beginning of the second quarter he snagged a punt and streaked 69 yards to the end zone. It was his 11th punt return for a TD in his career, setting a new NFL record. “It comes in spurts,” Hester said of scor- ing on special teams. “Returning a punt or kickoff is one of the hardest things to do in the NFL.”
Showing the confidence and poise of a veteran QB, Newton orchestrated an 8-play 64-yard drive, capping the effort with a 2- yard TD run to keep the Panthers within striking distance at 24-17.
In the third quarter the Panthers contin- ued to move the ball well against the Bear defense, getting nice runs from Jonathan Stewart (8 rushes for 52 yards), but the bend-don’t-break theory was in effect for Chicago and they stopped the drive short of a TD. Carolina attempted a field goal, which Julius Peppers blocked. “We wanted to be sitting here at 2-2 after this game and finish up this first quarter of the season on a high note and we were able to do that,” said head coach Lovie Smith.
Fowles named WNBA Defensive Player of the Year
Chicago Sky Center Sylvia Fowles has been named the 2011 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, the WNBA announced recently. Fowles received 19 out of 40 votes, one more than the run- ner-up, Indiana Fever forward and four-time Defensive Player of the Year Tamika Catchings (18). Connecticut Sun center Tina Charles (2) and Sky guard Epiphanny Prince (1) received the remaining votes. The four-time All-Star was also named to the WNBAAll Star second team, which also nets her a Tiffany-designed trophy and $5,000. In her fourth year in the WNBA, Fowles finished
the 2011 season becoming only the second player in WNBA history to finish the season averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds a game - joining Chamique Holdsclaw (20.5 ppg and 10.9 rpg) for Washington in 2003. Fowles tied a WNBA record with 22 dou- ble-doubles in a season, while leading the WNBA in blocked shots for the second straight year (2.00 bpg), field goal percentage (.591), and minutes played (34.6 mpg). She ranked second overall in rebounds (10.2 rpg) and third in scoring (20.0 ppg). The 6-6 Center from LSU has accomplished much in her short WNBA career, including an Olympic gold medal in 2008 and a World Championship Gold Medal in 2010. This season Fowles finished third in MVP voting, was named Player of the Week three times during the season, and named Player of the Month for August. AP
Chicago Defender • ChicagoDefender.com
• October 5-11, 2011 27
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