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The way this game started, it was hard to tell which team was in first place and which one was in disarray.

Hardy only had two sacks this season and never more than one in a game in his career, but he created all kinds of havoc in the first half.

The Panthers also had 226 yards while holding the Bears to 49 through the first two quarters.

Cutler tried to hit Marshall deep in double coverage on Chicago’s first possession and got picked off by Josh Norman near the goal line, an ominous start for the Bears.

Forte’s 13-yard scoring run through a big hole in the line on the Bears‘ next possession made it 7-0.

Newton responded by hitting a wide open Brandon LaFell on a slant for a 62-yard gain, putting the ball on the Chicago 18, but the Panthers settled for a field goal by Medlock.

They had another golden opportunity late in the quarter after Cutler got sacked on consecutive plays, with Charles Johnson stripping him and Frank Alexander recovering at the Chicago 16.

Newton fumbled the ball into the end zone after an 8-yard scramble, but Louis Murphy made the recovery to give Carolina a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter.

Medlock made it a six-point game with a 31-yard field goal with 4:36 left in the half, and the Panthers were threatening to score in the final minute of the half when Peppers wrapped up Newton as he dropped back with the ball on the 40.

A diving Jennings intercepted the wobbly pass along the sideline, but the Bears gave it right back a few plays later.