Devin Hester set an NFL record with his 11th career punt return for a touchdown and Matt Forte rushed for a career-high 205 yards as the Chicago Bears recorded a 34-29 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
D.J. Moore took an interception back 20 yards for a score and Marion Barber added a rushing touchdown for the Bears (2-2), who won despite allowing the Panthers 543 yards of total offense.
Hester had set up Chicago’s touchdown drive with a 73-yard kickoff return two minutes earlier. He then fielded a punt in Bears territory and broke a tackle before taking off for the home sideline and sprinting to the end zone for a 69-yard return.
The touchdown allowed Hester to move past Eric Metcalf and gave Chicago a 24-10 advantage with 11:32 left in the first half.
The Panthers fought back, drawing as close as 24-23 on Olindo Mare’s 38-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter.
But Forte put it away for the Bears, breaking free for a 40-yard run inside the Carolina 5-yard line. Barber punched it in from the 3-yard line, giving the Bears a 34-23 lead with under two minutes left.
Jay Cutler was held to 9 of 17 for 102 yards.
Top overall pick Cam Newton eventually found the end zone in the final seconds and finished 27 of 46 for 374 yards.
Newton topped 300 yards for the third time in four games while getting the Panthers back in it. But his bid for a second consecutive fourth-quarter comeback win ended with an incomplete pass on fourth-and-10 from the Panthers' 43.