Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bears' Reach Exceeds Panthers' in Grasp for a First NFL Victory

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bears' Reach Exceeds Panthers' in Grasp for a First NFL Victory

Article excerpt

Robert Green was reaching, stretching his 5-foot-8 frame as far it would allow and barely extending the football over the goal line.

Green's long-armed effort Sunday rescued the Chicago Bears and sent the Carolina Panthers out of Soldier Field still seeking their first victory.

Green scored from the 1 with 38 seconds left, capping a final 60-yard drive, as the Bears rallied twice in the fourth quarter for a 31-27 victory.

"I was definitely in. Once I got close I said, `Don't hold back.' I took a stab and then I rolled on the ground and I heard the crowd and I knew I had it," said Green, who had missed his previous game with an ankle injury that still was bothering him Sunday.

But the Bears (3-2), hoping to avoid a field-goal attempt and possible overtime, gave him the ball on third down.

"I was a little surprised we went with it. I could have walked in. I was a little too slow to get there. I couldn't plant, but that's not an excuse," Green said. "I didn't think I was going to be able to play and play well."

The expansion Panthers (0-5) seemed so close to their first-ever victory when Eric Guliford returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown with 2:37 left, giving Carolina a 27-24 lead.

But Erik Kramer, who was 23 of 41 for 259 yards and three touchdowns, then led Chicago on a 10-play, 60-yard drive. He completed four passes for 48 yards, including a 14-yarder to Jeff Graham that carried to the 6.

Green carried 5 yards to the 1. After an incomplete pass on second down, Green went right and just stretched the ball into the end zone as he was being hit by Lamar Lathon, who was called for a facemask penalty on the play.

"It's important. We needed to have a game on the line and come through. We go 2-3 and it would be a very sour way to start the season," Kramer said.

Kramer earlier had thrown two 1-yard touchdown passes, using a play fake to allow his receivers to get wide open. …

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