Brandon Marshall saw the grin on Jay Cutler’s face, and that was all it took to put him at ease.
The Chicago Bears were trailing again. Time was running out.
‘‘That’s when you want that type of quarterback,’’ Marshall said.
Robbie Gould kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired after Cutler rallied the Bears in the fourth quarter for a 23-22 home win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
The Bears trailed, 19-7, in the fourth quarter when the game turned in a big way.
Chicago (6-1) took over on the Carolina 38 after Brad Nortman shanked a 6-yard punt, and Cutler connected with Kellen Davis on a 12-yard scoring pass with a little less than seven minutes left.
On Carolina’s next play from scrimmage, Steve Smith slipped on an out pattern and Tim Jennings returned his second interception of the game 25 yards to make it 20-19. The pass failed on the 2-point attempt.
Cam Newton drove the Panthers to the Chicago 27, and Justin Medlock’s 45-yard field goal hit the right upright and went through to put Carolina ahead, 22-20, with 2:27 remaining.
But Cutler moved the Bears 55 yards to the 23-yard line, going 6 of 7 before Gould nailed his winner.
‘‘[Cutler] gets up smiling,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘I'm sitting here shaking — a little bit of the cold weather, a little bit of [being] nervous — and he just starts smiling like, ‘Well, here we go.’ It just put me at ease right away. The guys feel that vibe and they play off of it.’’
For Newton and the Panthers (1-6), the vibe couldn’t be worse.
They fired their general manager last week amid turmoil about their performances, and then dropped their fifth straight game after dominating for most of the day. Carolina gained 416 yards and had six sacks against Cutler, but somehow, Chicago pulled it out.
Cutler completed 19 of 28 passes for 186 yards after having his ribs bruised by Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh last Monday night. Marshall had 98 yards receiving and Matt Forte ran for 70 yards and a touchdown for Chicago. Jennings’s runback was the sixth TD of the season for Chicago’s defense.
Broncos 34, Saints 14
Peyton Manning shook off a bleeding right thumb after banging it on an opponent’s helmet to throw for 305 yards and three scores, leading Denver to a home rout of New Orleans. It was Manning’s fifth straight 300-yard game, setting a franchise record and matching his personal best.
Willis McGahee ran for 122 yards and a score for the Broncos (4-3), who won two in a row for the first time this season and took sole possession of first place in the AFC West. Denver gained a season-high 530 yards against the NFL’s worst defense.
New Orleans (2-5) was hoping to get a boost from the return of interim head coach Joe Vitt from his six-game suspension for the team’s bounty scandal. But Drew Brees was held to 213 yards on 22-of-42 passing with two scores, the last coming with the Saints down 27 with 2:03 to go.
Manning dinged his thumb while completing a pass late in the second quarter. After the half, he warmed up with no trouble, and then went 4 for 4 to start the third quarter, moving the Broncos 93 yards and capping the drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas for a 24-7 lead.
Lions 28, Seahawks 24
Titus Young caught his second touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford on a 1-yard slant with 20 seconds left, giving Detroit (3-4) a home victory over Seattle. Young caught his first TD midway through the second quarter and finished with nine receptions and 100 yards — both career highs.
Zach Miller had a spectacular, 16-yard touchdown catch on a toss from Russell Wilson with 5:27 left that put the Seahawks (4-4) ahead. But Seattle gave up three third-down conversions on the Lions’ final drive, and Detroit finished 12 of 16 in that category.
Stafford (34 of 49, 352 yards, 3 TDs) led the 16-play possession that started at Detroit’s 20 with 5:27 remaining. After Stafford threw away two passes to avoid sacks with no timeouts left, Young broke inside of cornerback Brandon Browner and caught the winning TD pass.
Stafford also ran for a 1-yard score that gave Detroit its first fourth-quarter lead this season.
Colts 19, Titans 13
Indianapolis beat Tennessee for the seventh time in eight meetings when Andrew Luck connected with fellow rookie Vick Ballard on a 16-yard touchdown pass 4:49 into overtime in Nashville. Luck led the Colts (4-3) on a pair of 80-yard touchdown drives, the first concluding with Delone Carter’s 1-yard run that tied the game at 13 with 3:24 left in the fourth quarter.
In overtime, on first and 10 from the Titans’ 16, Ballard took a screen pass up the left side and had his feet knocked out from underneath him as defenders tried to get him out of bounds. Ballard crossed the goal line upside down, with his head hitting the pylon. Officials reviewed the play before ruling it a score.Continued...