By Jeff Joniak-

(CBS) The Bears (2-2) face the Panthers (2-2) on the road Sunday. Here’s what is on my mind heading into the matchup.

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First impression

A Dyme Lyfe started in 2009 for Bears linebacker D. J. Williams and a few then-teammates on the Denver Broncos. Think of it as a lifestyle of random acts of kindness.

“Dyme is actually an acronym for Do you motivate and emanate?” Williams said. “We try to get people to be themselves, be positive, be who you are and push that out in the world.”

Williams started a clothing line of the same name and printed up some shirts for teammates last week with a Bears twist on the “Be A Monster” theme prevalent in the organization. It’s tied into several charity endeavors Williams is involved with, including “Home Team Closet.”

“We have a lot of shoes and clothes as pro athletes,” Williams said. “We asked guys on the team to clean out their closet.”

Williams asked Brandon Marshall and Tim Jennings to pitch in, and just between the three of them they came up with 500 items, some of which were donated to 15 kids in Chicago on Monday.

“The big vision of it is to have a bin in every locker room in every pro sport,” Williams said. “If we do that, we think we can help out a lot of people. Just imagine if everybody in the world did one favor for somebody else, how great things would be.”

More on Williams’ “Dyme Lyfe” will air in Sunday’s audio version of Joniak’s Journal on the Bears-Panthers pregame show airing at 10:10 a.m. on News Radio 780 and 105.9 FM, WBBM.

Second thought

Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer and offensive line coach Pat Meyer have worked together the last 20 games to get the most out of their depth chart up front. They have at least eight guys they can count on when healthy. Center Brian de la Puente and left guard Michael Ola have impressively filled in for soon-to-be returning starters Roberto Garza and Matt Slauson since they suffered ankle injuries in the opener, and Eben Britton is back in the mix as a situational extra blocker.

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The front five opened up enough holes on 37 rushes for Matt Forte, rookie Ka’Deem Carey and other to explosively pile up 235 rushing yards against the Packers. Only one run resulted in a negative play. Trap blocks by Kyle Long and Ola wiped out three different Packers defensive linemen, creating chunk gains.

They protected Jay Cutler to the tune of just one sack by Datone Jones, and that was partially due to good coverage. Mike Neal had the only knockdown of Cutler. There were a few pressures from Julius Peppers and one by Clay Matthews, but overall it was another strong day up front for the Bears offensive line despite the loss.

Third degree

For the last five seasons, the Bears’ home record has been 5-3, including in 2010, their only playoff appearance in that span after they won the NFC North title. The rule of thumb or formula is to go 7-1 or 6-2 at worst at home and split your road games to get to the postseason. However, from 2009-’13, 30 percent of the 60 playoff teams managed to beat the odds with a home record of worse than 6-2 and play well enough on the road to counter the argument.

Take a look, with road records and the playoff result in their first game:

2013: Green Bay (4-3-1, L), Philadelphia (4-4, L), Kansas City (5-3, L), San Diego (5-3, W)
2012: Cincinnati (4-4, L), Washington (5-3, L)
2011: Denver (3-5, W), NY Giants (4-4, W), Cincinnati (4-4, L), Detroit (5-3, L), Houston (5-3, W)
2010: Philadelphia (4-4, L), Chicago (5-3, W), NY Jets (5-3, W), Pittsburgh (5-3, W), New Orleans (5-3, L)
2009: NY Jets (4-4, W), Arizona Cardinals (4-4, W)

Among those 18 teams with three, four or five losses at home, their combined record in their first playoff game was 9-9. The 2010 Steelers made the Super Bowl, and the 2011 Giants won the Super Bowl.

For the first time in Bears history, they’ve lost their first two home games and won their first two road games.


All 10 of Jay Cutler’s touchdown throws have come in the red zone, which is one short of Andrew Luck’s 11 with the Indianapolis Colts. Cutler’s opponent this week is Cam Newton of Carolina, and he’s thrown one red-zone touchdown. How Newton reads defenses when the field shrinks has him under some scrutiny, with the suggestion that his backup Derek Anderson is better at it.

When healthy, Newton’s mobility and ability to shed tackles poses a threat, evidenced by his 28 career rushing touchdowns. Overall, the Panthers are last in the NFL in red-zone touchdown efficiency at 30 percent on only 10 possessions.

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Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.