Cutler threw an interception on the first Chicago offensive possession of the game. At midfield, the Chicago quarterback went deep to Brandon Marshall, but Panthers cornerback Josh Norman picked off the heave at the Carolina 3-yard line.
On the next touch for the Bears, field position after a Carolina punt made for a quick strike. Matt Forte scored on a 13-yard run with 4:37 to play in the first quarter to cap a four-play, 51-yard drive that gave Chicago a 7-0 lead.
Forte has already rolled up 44 yards on five carries.
The Panthers moved the ball well on their next possession, and kicker Justin Medlock cut into the Chicago lead with a 34-yard field goal.
The Bears' next touch saw protection problems for Cutler. He was sacked on second down for an 11-yard loss, then on the next play was again hit in the backfield only to fumble. Carolina recovered on the Bears' 16-yard line.
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton has already passed for 111 yards through one quarter.