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No 'deserves' in Bears reaching 6-1 with fifth straight win

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No 'deserves' in Bears reaching 6-1 with fifth straight win

Cornerback Tim Jennings preferred to look at the result rather than steps in the process.
 
This was an ugly one, said Jennings, whose 25-yard interception return for a touchdown gave the Bears a lead in the fourth quarter. Offense didnt play well. Defense didnt play well. Special teams didnt get any big plays.
 
But we just had to keep fighting.
 
In the last half of the last quarter, the offense, defense and special teams all produced both big plays and points.
 
So whether the Bears won a 23-22 victory over the Carolina Panthers on a last-second field goal of 41 yards by Robbie Gould or the Panthers blew a 12-point fourth-quarter lead really isnt important at all.
 
Beauty, or lack of, is in the minds of the critics, not in the NFL standings, which have the 6-1 Bears with the second-best record in the NFL and still two games ahead of the 5-3 Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North.
 
There is no such thing as an ugly win, coach Lovie Smith said. To me the team that deserves the win always ends up on top at the end.
 
Indeed, deserves has no relevance in sports, certainly not after the Bears trailed the ill-starred 1-6 Panthers by a count of 19-7 as late as the 7-minute mark of the fourth quarter. The Bears scored 13 points in the span of 8 seconds to deserve a fifth straight win for the third season in a row.
 
All phases in 7 minutes
 

Smith consistently alludes to the importance of all phases of the team offense, defense, special teams plus fan support as the fourth. All four figured prominently in one of the epic turnarounds in recent Bears history:
 
Offense
 
The victory needed quarterback Jay Cutler completing 12 of 14 passes in the fourth quarter and accomplishing his first come-from-behind win since rallying the Bears against the Philadelphia Eagles last Nov. 7.
 
The offense turned a shanked six-yard Carolina punt into a 12-yard touchdown pass from Cutler to tight end Kellen Davis with 6 minutes, 52 seconds to play.
 
After the Panthers had gone back ahead on a Justin Medlock field goal of 45 yards, Cutler picked apart a suddenly overmatched Carolina defense by completing six of seven passes to set up Goulds winning kick.
 
They were playing one coverage, said Cutler, who finished with 19-of-28 passing for 186 yards, a touchdown, an interception and passer rating of 83.3. He was sacked six times in the first half, then never again.
 
We just kept hitting them and hitting them and hitting them.
 
Defense
 
It needed Jennings eight seconds and one snap later intercepting a pass intended for wide receiver Steve Smith, who had slipped on the play. Jennings returned the ball 25 yards for an NFL-record sixth defensive touchdown on the year.
 
The play was particularly savored because it came at the expense of Smith, who hurt the Bears with seven catches and 118 receiving yards and dismissed Bears defensive backs as not his equal in the aftermath.
 
They didnt especially care.
 
Great play, said cornerback Charles Tillman. You never know whats going to happen so thats why you have to keep playing. Coach Smith is always talking about it. I think we learned a lot about our team tonight.
 
Special teams
 
It needed special teams and Gould shaking off an earlier miss from 32 yards and driving home his 13th field goal of the season as time expired.
 
Carolina collapse
 
The defeat carried a special sting. Coach Ron Rivera fell to 0-2 against former boss Lovie Smith, but more excruciatingly, five of the Panthers six losses have been by six or fewer points. The last four have been by a total of 12 points and were leaving Rivera without answers, or solutions.
 
Yeah, I am, truly, Rivera said. Im running out of ways to describe this.
 
This was anything but a meltdown by quarterback Cam Newton or anyone else. Newton completed 20 of 39 passes for 314 yards but saved his worst throw to a slipping Smith - until it mattered most.
 
I kind of felt him slipping, Newton said. I just wanted to give Steve and chance. You cant do that. You need to protect the ball better than that.
 
If you dont, you dont deserve to win. Or something like that.

Ahead of schedule from knee surgery, Brandon Davidson not worried about where he fits back in

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USA TODAY

Ahead of schedule from knee surgery, Brandon Davidson not worried about where he fits back in

The Blackhawks got a pleasant surprise on Friday when Brandon Davidson joined the team for morning skate after having knee surgery on Nov. 27 to clean up his meniscus.

He was expected to be sidelined 6-8 weeks. But just two weeks into his recovery, the 27-year-old defenseman returned to the ice and has skated in three of the past four days. He's way ahead of schedule and even Davidson is a little surprised by it.

"Sooner than expected, for sure," he said. "When I was told 6-8 weeks, that seemed like forever. But here I am two and a half weeks and I'm on the ice. I'm almost at full workouts. Still having trouble with range of motion, but very happy with how things are going."

The injury happened on Nov. 12 when the Blackhawks were in Carolina. Davidson took a hit that caused his knee to "blow up," which was initially believed to take only a few days to heal. But after the swelling didn't get any better, the Blackhawks felt a minor operation was necessary.

"Fairly easy quick fix," Davidson said. "No real damage, but something that we had to get under control."

Davidson is still at least a couple away weeks from returning to game action, but once he is cleared, there's no guarantee he'll have a spot waiting for him. The Blackhawks had nine defensemen on the ice during Friday's morning skate, showing just how crowded the blue line is.

"It’s great," coach Jeremy Colliton said of having Davidson back on the ice. "More guys healthy, more competition we have for ice and spots. It’s not like he’s ready to come back, but good to see him on the ice. " 

At some point in the near future, the Blackhawks will have to make some roster decisions — perhaps even before the league-wide holiday freeze starting on Dec. 19. But Davidson isn't worried about where he fits in. He can only control what he can control, and getting back to 100 percent is his No. 1 priority right now.

"You know what, I haven't thought a lot about it," Davidson said. "I can definitely see that the numbers are up on the back end, but I feel that when it's time for me to do my job, I can do that to the best of my abilities and I can play for my job."

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

Bears vs. Packers, Week 15: How to watch, listen and stream

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USA TODAY

Bears vs. Packers, Week 15: How to watch, listen and stream

The Bears have their shot at redemption with the Green Bay Packers coming to town on Sunday. Chicago should be plenty motivated to avenge their devastating Week 1 loss, especially with the two teams trending in opposite directions this season.

Here’s how you can tune in to the game:

Game Information

Green Bay Packers (5-7-1) at Chicago Bears (9-4)

12:00 pm. CT, Sunday, December 16

Soldier Field, Chicago

Television

NFL on FOX
Announcers: Chris Myers and Daryl Johnston

Stream
Watch live with fuboTV — Try free trial

Football Aftershow on NBC Sports Chicago

Radio

WBBM 780 (Chicago)

Satellite Radio

Bears feed: XM 227

Packers feed: XM 225

Coverage on NBC Sports Chicago

"The Warm Up” — 15 minutes prior to every Bears game this season, host Laurence Holmes, along with analysts Lance Briggs, Alex Brown, Matt Forte, will hold a special Facebook Live segment on NBC Sports Chicago’s official Facebook page — offering a game day preview featuring their expert commentary and predictions, plus - Bears fans will have also an opportunity to have their questions answered by submitting their game day inquiries via the “comments” section on the live stream.

“3rd Quarter Sidecast” — At the start of the third quarter of every Bears game this season, fans will also be able to interact with the Football Aftershow crew via Facebook Live (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago) as they watch and react to the first few series of the second half.

In addition, the “3rd Quarter Sidecast” will also feature more fan interaction as fans can post their thoughts and ask their questions to Briggs, Brown, and Forte.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears and stream the ‘Football Aftershow’ easily on your device.