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Kellen Davis’ late TD catch helped Bears gain much-needed momentum

There only was one thing Bears tight end Kellen Davis was thinking when he got past the Carolina Panthers’ linebackers and headed to the back of the end zone halfway through the fourth quarter.

“I want the ball,” he said.

And Davis got it, receiving a bullet shot from the arm of quarterback Jay Cutler.

Davis hauled in a 12-yard touchdown pass – a tough, leaping grab between the Panthers’ safeties -- and provided his team with some overdue offensive momentum after basically three quarters of ineptitude in the Bears’ 23-22 win at Soldier Field Sunday.

“It was just a regular second and medium-down-and-distance call that we ran a few times earlier in the game,” Davis said.

“We got the cover-2 down there and it was good taking me up the middle versus the two [safeties] in the end zone. Jay threw a great ball and gave me a bunch of space to go up there and make a play on it.”

Davis’ touchdown cut the Panthers’ lead to 19-14 and became the first highlight of many for the Bears in the fourth quarter. It came more than five minutes after Robbie Gould missed a 33-yard field goal and proceeded cornerback Tim Jennings’ 25-yard interception return for a touchdown that came 12 seconds later.

“It was momentum,” defensive tackle Stephen Paea said of Davis’ catch. “And then all we wanted was a takeaway.”

It was Davis’ second touchdown of the season, but also a response to some of the attention -- good and bad -- the Bears’ tight ends received heading into Sunday as tight end Greg Olsen returned to Chicago with the Panthers.

“Jay threw a great ball, and God bless, I was just able to go up there and make a play on it,” said Davis, who leads Bears tight ends with 10 catches for 144 yards and two scores.

Davis said he was the secondary read for Cutler on the play, while receiver Earl Bennett was the first. “After I clear those linebackers, then I’ve got room back there,” he said.

Davis also knows that his catch helped spark an offense, which had only 49 net yards in the first half.

“Of course, we were frustrated,” Davis said. “I don’t know how many yards we had at halftime, but it wasn’t very many. We know we’re a better offense than that so obviously it was not what the Panthers were doing to us, but what we were doing to ourselves.

“We had to figure out what we were doing that was shooting ourselves in the foot and try to make some plays because it’s hard to get momentum after being down for so long. I thought we did a good job of bouncing back.”

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