Final

Panthers 3

(7-3, 3-2 away)

Bears 13

(7-3, 5-1 home)

1:00 PM ET, November 20, 2005

 

1 2 3 4 T
CAR 0 0 0 33
CHI 10 3 0 013

Top Performers

Passing: J. Delhomme (CAR) - 235 YDS, 2 INT

Rushing: T. Jones (CHI) - 25 CAR, 87 YDS

Receiving: S. Smith (CAR) - 14 REC, 169 YDS

Carolina (7-2) at Chicago (6-3)

Carolina (7-2) at Chicago (6-3), Sunday 1:00 pm EST

CHICAGO (Ticker) -- The Chicago Bears jumped at the chance to sign Muhsin Muhammad when the Carolina Panthers no longer could afford their leading receiver in club history.

Muhammad gets a crack at his old team Sunday when the Bears meet the Panthers in a matchup between the NFC's two hottest clubs.

After failing to work out a contract extension that would have lessened a $10 million bonus due last March, the Panthers waived Muhammad on February 25.

Just one day later, the Bears signed the two-time Pro Bowler to a six-year contract. The deal is worth a guaranteed $10 million and Muhammad is to receive at least $5 million over the first three seasons.

In 2004, Muhammad had 93 catches and set career highs with 1,405 receiving yards and a league-leading 16 touchdowns - 13 more than Chicago's receivers combined for last season.

Muhammad spent his first nine seasons with Carolina and caught 578 passes for 7,751 yards and 44 touchdowns. He had a career-high 102 receptions in 2002 and set the franchise mark with seven 100-yard receiving games last year.

The 32-year-old Muhammad also holds the distinction of scoring the longest touchdown in Super Bowl history, hauling in an 85-yard scoring pass from Jake Delhomme against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII. He had four catches for 140 yards in the 32-29 loss.

With the Bears featuring a conservative offensive approach with rookie quarterback Kyle Orton, Muhammad is not putting up big numbers this season. He still leads the club with 38 catches for 474 yards and two touchdowns.

Thanks to the NFL's top-ranked defense that is allowing just 11.9 points per game and a running game that ranks fifth, Chicago has been a major surprise.

The Bears have won five straight games and hold a two-game lead over both Minnesota and Detroit in the NFC North. They last won six in a row during the 2001 season when they won the NFC Central.

Amid extremely windy conditions, the Bears posted a 17-9 victory over San Francisco last week. Third-string running back Adrian Peterson rushed for a career-high 120 yards and a touchdown.

Peterson saw extended work with the absence of Thomas Jones and rookie Cedric Benson, who suffered a sprained knee ligament in the first half. But Jones, who has rushed for 753 yards and six touchdowns in the first eight games of the season, is expected to return after being sidelined with bruised ribs.

Jones will be tested against the Panthers, who rank fifth against the run and 10th overall in total defense.

The Panthers enter the contest with a six-game winning streak. It is their longest streak since winning seven in a row to close the 1996 season.

Carolina holds a one-game lead over Tampa Bay and Atlanta in the NFC South. Steve Smith has more than made up for Muhammad's absence. He has 58 receptions for 937 yards and nine touchdowns.

Last week, the Panthers forced six turnovers in a 30-3 rout of the New York Jets. Stephen Davis paced the offense, rushing for 81 yards and a touchdown.

Matchup to watch: Smith against right cornerback Nathan Vasher, who returned a missed field goal an NFL-record 108 yards for a touchdown in last week's win.

Series: Tied, 1-1.

Next week: Carolina visits Buffalo, November 27 Chicago visits Tampa Bay, November 27

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Passing Leaders

CarolinaCMP%YDSTDINT
C. Newton60.7147283
D. Anderson70.242440
ChicagoCMP%YDSTDINT
J. Cutler67.31866147
J. Clausen100.0900

Rushing Leaders

CarolinaCARYDSAVGTD
C. Newton381905.01
J. Stewart421383.31
ChicagoCARYDSAVGTD
M. Forte1114484.03
J. Cutler24974.01

Receiving Leaders

CarolinaRECYDSAVGTD
G. Olsen4149312.05
K. Benjamin3447714.05
ChicagoRECYDSAVGTD
A. Jeffery3350415.32
M. Forte524368.42

Team Averages & NFL Ranks

TEAM OFFENSETEAMPER GAME AVERAGE
Total YardsCAR
 
 309
CHI
 
 256
Yards PassingCAR
 
 204
CHI
 
 125
Yards RushingCAR
 
 105
CHI
 
 131
TEAM DEFENSETEAMPER GAME AVERAGE
Yards AllowedCAR
 
 283
CHI
 
 282
Pass Yds AllowedCAR
 
 191
CHI
 
 180
Rush Yds AllowedCAR
 
 92
CHI
 
 102

Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)

Carolina leads 2-1
Dec 22, 2002CAR 24, CHI 14