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Bryce Young shared his "emotion" after "embarrassing" loss

Bryce Young

CHICAGO — Bryce Young walked to the podium, and he talked about accountability and getting better, because that's what he's done so many times. 

But after Thursday's 16-13 loss to the Bears, they saw something else out of him in the locker room. A challenge, perhaps. Not anger, and not tears, but just all of it pouring out at once.

"First and foremost, I have to be a lot better. We have to be better. It's frustrating, it's very frustrating," Young began. "And that's not me, that's not just me, that's everyone. We're competitors, and losing is frustrating. It's fresh, you feel it, but at the end of the day, you've got to turn the page. Being frustrated, however you feel, it's not going to win you a game, it's not going to help.

"You have to turn that and use that in action throughout the week and then we have to translate it to Sunday or Thursday tonight, whatever. We have to translate it."

Clearly, they didn't on Thursday. Whatever work is being done on the practice field didn't show up at Soldier Field. They gained a season-low 213 yards. They converted 3-of-15 third downs. Young threw for just 185 yards, and 45 of them came on one first-quarter pass to practice squad call-up Mike Strachan.

"We're just not hitting on all cylinders right now. We're not hitting on any cylinders," veteran receiver Adam Thielen said. "It's an embarrassing effort. I think everyone's just embarrassed, you know, put up what, six points on offense.

"Like, we didn't do anything. That's embarrassing when your defense is playing the way they're playing, especially the way they're playing. It's embarrassing. And like we talked about, we're putting in good practices. We're doing the right things; building the momentum that way, but it's just not translating. That's tough."

Perhaps that's why Young appeared to be taking this one tougher than many of the rest (not that he's taken any of them well).

When he was finished talking to reporters, he appeared spent. Sitting alone in his locker, uniform pants still on, after many of his teammates had already made their way to the bus, he had a private receiving line. 

Passing game coordinator Parks Frazier sat with him for a few moments while he stared straight ahead. Then backup quarterback Andy Dalton stood and counseled. 

It was a different look on the No. 1 overall pick's face after this one. He had already said everything he had to say. 

"He addressed us and kind of just shared his emotion, and it was received extremely well from a leader, a guy who puts everything he got in the preparation of the game, and we're all trying to figure out how to do that," Thielen said. "Just kind of holding accountable, holding everybody accountable.

"I think it's his passion for the game. You know, he's a winner. He's a leader. And he expects a lot out of himself. When you expect a lot of yourself, you just kind of hold everybody accountable, including himself, which the great leaders do. And everyone's kind of got to look themselves in the mirror and say, you know, how can I get better? What can I do to get better and figure it out fast?"

At 1-8, time is fading to figure things out. Not for any kind of postseason considerations – you have to win more than one game to even talk about that. For the overall development of Young as a quarterback.

Panthers head coach Frank Reich said he wasn't worried about Young's confidence, not from a big-picture perspective.

"No, I'm not worried about Bryce's confidence," Reich said. "I think he's mentally tougher than a lot of rookie quarterbacks. I mean, for a rookie quarterback, considering the start we've had, I don't think I see any retreat in him. I don't. I see aggressiveness. I see resolve. I see determination, and I feel like he's taking ownership of it and he's taking probably more ownership of it than he should.

"Because it's a group effort, but the quarterback and head coach are always going to be at the center. That's just the way it is. And so it's just a credit to him for taking responsibility for the whole offense. When, in fact, it's not just him.

"Can he be better? Sure. Can I be better? Absolutely. Can we all be better on offense, 100 percent, for sure."

Because there's a belief in him in that locker room, because of the way he's come in here, there's a defense of him. But they also know this was the worst of the lot, and it's hard to see the answers right now.

Veteran guard Austin Corbett has seen things. He was drafted by the Browns, and got traded to the Rams and won a Super Bowl before coming here. So he knows what can happen when things get sideways and how they can be fixed. And he was firm when asked if he was worried about this taking a long-term toll on Young.

"No, absolutely not," Corbett said. "He's the type of guy that's not going to let that happen either. Every moment in the NFL you're going to learn from, you're going to be able to build off, and you're not going to let that affect you down the road. It means too much to him.

"You can see it in his preparation when he talks to us when he brings us up, and he understands that, but the storm is tough. It's on top of us, but we're going to get through that storm by sticking together and just moving forward and looking on the light that's there and we're going to get to it."

View all the action from the Panthers' game against the Chicago Bears in Week 10 of the regular season.

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