Rookie safety Eddie Jackson became the first NFL player to score multiple defensive touchdowns of 75 yards or more in a game, leading the Chicago Bears to a 17-3 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Jackson ran back a fumble recovery 75 yards on the game’s opening possession and returned an interception of Cam Newton 76 yards for a score early in the second quarter to give Chicago a 14-0 lead.
He became the first Bears player since Fred Evans in 1948 — and the first NFL player since Tennessee’s Zach Brown in 2012 — with two defensive TDs in a game.
Chicago also sacked Newton five times and intercepted him twice.
The big plays by Jackson and the defense lifted the Bears (3-4) to their second straight win even though they got dominated in just about every statistical category.
Carolina (4-3) held huge advantages in yards (293-153), time of possession (38:35-21:25), offensive plays (69-37) and first downs (20-5).
Newton completed 21 of 34 passes for 211 yards and ran for a team-high 50. But the Panthers dropped their second straight game.
Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky was 4 of 7 for 107 yards in his third NFL start. The No. 2 overall pick threw a 70-yard pass to Tarik Cohen, but did little else.
Jordan Howard also had a quiet afternoon, even though Panthers star linebacker Luke Kuechly missed the game because of a concussion. He ran for just 65 yards after going off for a career-high 167 against Baltimore last week.
Jackson’s big day came exactly one year after he broke his leg playing for Alabama against Texas A&M.
A fourth-round draft pick, he scooped up the loose ball near the end zone after Curtis Samuel botched a lateral and was barely touched on the way to the end zone.
Early in the second quarter, Chicago’s Prince Amukamara tipped a pass intended for Kelvin Benjamin. Jackson hauled in the interception and had a clear path on the way to a 76-yard TD.
Carolina’s Graham Gano kicked a field goal late in the half. The Bears then had a huge opportunity when Trubisky connected with Cohen on that 70-yard pass to the 5, but had to settle for a 19-yard kick by Connor Barth that made it 17-3.
Panthers: Two-time All-Pro C Ryan Kalil (neck) returned to the lineup after missing five games, but lasted only one quarter. He was hurt in a season-opening win over San Francisco. … LT Matt Kalil, his brother, limped to the sideline following a Panthers run early in the second quarter, but started the second half. … RG Trai Turner injured his left knee late in the third blocking on a pass play and left the game.
Bears: DL Roy Robertson-Harris injured his hamstring defending the kickoff return following Jackson’s second touchdown.
Panthers: Visit Tampa Bay on Oct. 29.
Bears: Visit New Orleans on Oct. 29.
Source: Associated Press