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Panther: Bears kept running same play on final drive

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith plays with as much emotion as any player in the NFL. It's no surprise he couldn't keep those emotions in check after the team's latest devastating loss -- a 23-22 meltdown Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

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"It's getting old," Smith said, via the Associated Press. "There is a tradition growing here, and I'm not sure which way this tradition is going. ... Not heartbreaking. Tiresome, monotonous, a few guys in here are perturbed and (ticked), but we're beyond heartbreak. We're just getting upset."

It's not clear if Smith is upset at anyone in particular. He has some right to be upset with his coaching staff for playing things not to lose in the fourth quarter. The Bears executed their game-winning drive essentially by running the same play over and over.

"They threw the same pass play I think all the way down the field," Panthers safety Charles Godfrey said, via the Charlotte Observer. "That was a great play for that coverage, and they just ran that play all the way down the field. And the coverage we were in, we just stayed in that coverage."

Coach Ron Rivera's reasoning: "We were trying to keep the ball in front of us. It's one of those things where if you jump it and they double-move you, now all of a sudden it's a touchdown or the ball is in field-goal range. We were trying to make them systematically beat us."

We provided the italics. We don't blame Smith for blowing off a little steam, but that sort of philosophy by Rivera can make anyone a little upset.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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