Captain Munnerlyn frustrated with defensive calls on final drive

Captain Munnerlyn didn’t name Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott but he didn’t have to when he was sharing his frustration with the game-winning drive by the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field.

The Panthers were clinging to a two-point lead with 2:27 remaining when the Bears took over on their own 22-yard line with one timeout left. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler proceeded to dump off a pass to running back Matt Forte for four yards and then complete five of his next six throws. Four went to Brandon Marshall and one to Earl Bennett on essentially the same play. Marshall, on the outside, and Bennett, in the slot, ran double slant routes.

Against the Panthers’ Cover Four look with outside cornerback Josh Norman playing off coverage, it was as easy as pitch-and-catch for Cutler and Marshall. The Bears drove downfield with ease to set up for Robbie Gould’s 41-yard field goal as time expired and a 23-22 victory.

“They did the same play at the end, I think four or five times in a row and they got the win,” Munnerlyn said. “I just play the defense they call but you gotta switch it up. I felt like Jay Cutler, he knew what we were in. So he knew the weakness of the defense and they attacked it.

“I wish it was Cover 2. We played a Cover 4 look. They kind of ran double slants on my side and forced me to squeeze No. 2 and … (Norman) can’t play that. You tell a guy to jump that and if he jumps that and Brandon Marshall does a double move, it’s a touchdown. We’ve just got to do better. Even though coach gave us that call, we’ve got to execute. We tried and we fell short.”

Cutler concurred.

“They were playing one coverage and we just kept hitting them and hitting them and hitting them,” he said. “That’s pretty much it.”

It’s been a season of shortcoming to this point for Carolina. The Panthers are 1-6 and five of the losses have been by six points or less.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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