Bears RB D'Onta Foreman scores game-winning TD in first game against former team

Eight months after the Panthers let him walk in free agency, D’Onta Foreman keyed a victory for his current team over his former squad.

The Chicago Bears defeated the Carolina Panthers, 16-13, on Thursday night — a win decided by a third-quarter touchdown run from Foreman, who spent the 2022 season with Carolina.

“[The emotions were] kind of high, really, all day it was high, but when the game came I just had to calm down and understand that it’s just another game, and just go out there and play my game, don’t try to do too much, just stay in the moment, and I feel like I did that,” Foreman said after the game.

The Bears came into Thursday once against starting undrafted rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent under center, as Justin Fields was inactive as he recovers from a dislocated right thumb. Considering the team’s struggles to get significant yardage through the air for much of the game, Chicago gave the ball to Foreman early and often.

Chicago could only score field goals early, but after starting a drive in Carolina territory in the third quarter, Foreman eventually broke through, taking the ball at the 4-yard line and bouncing off defenders as he powered his way into the end zone. The game-winning score was the only offensive touchdown by either side on the night.

“Just clicking on all cylinders and everybody on the same page, we knew that we had to score with the great field position,” Foreman said. “Defense played really good, we just wanted to complement their hard work, going to put the ball in the end zone.”

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Foreman recorded his second straight game with at least 20 carries, finishing with 80 yards rushing on a season-high 21 totes. Sixty-one of those rushing yards were gained after contact, per Next Gen Stats, which also lists him as second in the league in yards after contact since Week 6 (272).

Foreman spent last season in Carolina, where he had the best season of his career, taking the reins after the trade of Christian McCaffrey and finishing with 914 rushing yards and five touchdowns — both career-high tallies. Despite his performance, Foreman was not re-signed by the club, and eventually found a home in Chicago.

Carolina signed Miles Sanders to be its RB1 after moving on from Foreman, giving the former Philadelphia Eagle a four-year, $25.4 million deal. Sanders finished Thursday night’s game with two carries for negative-5 yards, and over eight games has recorded 71 rushes for 224 yards and a touchdown. Foreman has had 86 carries for 367 yards and three touchdowns in six games with the Bears.

Foreman started the season as a healthy scratch from Weeks 2-5, but with Khalil Herbert landing on injured reserve with an ankle injury last month, he has stepped up. Foreman has had his best two games in the Bears’ last two contests, following up last week’s 20-carry, 83-yard outing with this week’s showing versus his former team.

Foreman’s history in Carolina was not the only entanglement involved in Thursday’s contest between the two squads. D.J. Moore also was on the Panthers’ 2022 roster, and was sent to Chicago as part of the trade between the teams that gave Carolina the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. Moore finished Thursday with a game-high 58 receiving yards.

The Panthers got Bryce Young with the pick from the Bears, and the Chicago haul included Moore and Carolina’s first-round pick for 2024, a selection that only increased in value with Thursday’s outcome, which dropped Carolina’s record to 1-8.

Chicago, on the other hand, moves to 3-7 on the season, equaling the team’s final win total from 2022, with hopes that Fields might be able to return by the time the Bears face the Lions after a 10-day break.

“It means a lot to get the victory, and that has nothing to do with the team we played,” Foreman said. “It was just us in this locker room, and everything we’ve been going through all year, and really needing this win to try and get these guys rallied back up. And I really think that if we can just stay together and the defense plays like they did tonight, we’re going to get more wins for sure.”

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