Tim Jennings had a tough assignment on Sunday: to cover one of the best receivers in the NFL. Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith had a decent day working against Jennings to the tune of seven catches for 118 yards. But on a play where Smith slipped and fell on the Soldier Field turf, Jennings took big advantage to the tune of a go-ahead pick six with 6:52 to go in the game. The touchdown gave the Bears a 20-19 lead in a game they'd go on to win 23-22 on a Robbie Gould field goal as time expired.
After the game, Smith offered a "compliment" to Jennings for his interception:
That was the best play he made all game on me. But it was a key moment in the game, changed the momentum. I know you want to pump him up. But I've been kicking his ass every time I come up here. And today wasn't no different. Do you disagree?
Smith came into the day averaging 149 yards receiving against the Bears for his career. For his part, Jennings thinks he did a good job staying on Smith.
He's going to make some plays. But I had to have the mentality that I got to stay up and stay playing aggressive and minimize his playmaking ability.
The Panthers have now dropped five straight and lost their last four games by a combined 12 points. They sit at 1-6 on the season and barring a monumental collapse from the Atlanta Falcons are all but out of the NFC South division race.
On the flip side, the win represents the Bears fifth straight victory. They're on top of the NFC North by a game and a half over the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers.