CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — New head coach, same opportunistic Chicago Bears defense.
The Bears forced three first-half turnovers and linebacker Jonathan Bostic returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown, but the Carolina Panthers spoiled Marc Trestman's NFL head coaching debut by beating Chicago 24-17 Friday night.
The Bears — who had four turnovers — picked up where they left off last season when they led the NFL with 44 takeaways and finished with nine defensive touchdowns, one shy of the league record.
Problem was Chicago's offense couldn't do a thing for the better part of three quarters.
Carolina's second-year cornerback Josh Norman had two interceptions, including a 60-yard return for a touchdown against Matt Blanchard.
The Bears had three turnovers and allowed seven sacks.
"Certainly we didn't do what we wanted or up to our expectations," Trestman said of his offense. "... We've got work to do."
Jay Cutler was intercepted on Chicago's first play from scrimmage by Norman, setting up a 3-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton to Brandon LaFell.
Cutler bounced back to complete 6 of 8 passes for 56 yards, but the Bears offense managed only a field goal in the first three quarters.
Tight end Fendi Onobun dropped a wide open pass in the end zone from Josh McCown in the second quarter and the Bears turned the ball over on the next play at the Carolina 12.
Matt Forte carried once and lost a yard and the Bears were held to 16 yards rushing on six carries and 85 total yards in the first half.
"Defensively, we just wanted to go out and establish ourselves," Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis said. "We didn't really know what to expect because everything is new in Chicago. So it was all about going out and executing what we do and we did a good job of that defensively."
Newton's night was a mixed bag.
Carolina's third-year pro played three series and was 3 of 6 for 16 yards with the one touchdown to LaFell on a crossing route.
But what had been a mostly positive night turned sour when Newton threw into double coverage and was intercepted near midfield by Bostic, who ran untouched to the end zone.
Newton didn't return to the game after that.
"Cam got a little greedy and tried to force the ball in there," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said.
Newton said he asked coaches to put him back in for one more series after what he described as a "disgusting" throw.
"It's something that you have to live with," Newton said. "You have to live and learn and it's keeping me anxious for our next preseason game."