The Chicago Bears had no business walking out of Soldier Field with a 23-22 win Sunday.
But never underestimate the Carolina Panthers, who have become quite adept at giving away games this season.
The Bears have won five in a row, but this one wasn't pretty. Chicago was outgained 416 to 210 in total yardage, with Carolina holding the ball for nearly 37 minutes.
Had Gould missed the final kick, this game would be about Cam Newton, who put the Panthers in position for the win by leading a field-goal drive with less than two minutes to play. That came after Newton threw a pick six on Carolina's previous possession, a killer turnover precipitated by a slip by Steve Smith.
Newton got the ball right back and moved the Panthers 53 yards on 11 plays. He narrowly missed connecting with Smith on a touchdown pass before Justin Medlock converted from 45 yards out to put Carolina back in front with 2:32 to play.
The Panthers' defense had a great afternoon, sacking Jay Cutler six times in the first half alone. But the unit couldn't close. Cutler went 6-of-7 passing for 52 yards on the final drive, driving a dagger into a 1-6 Panthers team that can safely look ahead to 2013.
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.