And at 6-1, the Bears are having the type of season that has some thinking Super Bowl.
"I think during the course of a year, when you are going to have a special season, you have to have games like this, when you don't play your best ball," Smith said on WBBM-AM (780). "Carolina came in ready to play, Ron Rivera had his team ready to play, we weren't as sharp as we needed to be early on. But we found a way to win in the end and that's what good football teams do."
The Bears looked flat for three quarters before Jay Cutler engineered a touchdown drive and Tim Jennings returned an interception for a touchdown. Robbie Gould sealed the win with a 41-yard field goal as time expired.
"I think when we talk about great quarterbacks, it's about how they finish the game," Smith said. "The great ones you talk about in the past is how they play that fourth quarter. Jay yesterday in the fourth quarter was 12-of-14 for 106 yards and a 122 quarterback rating and a touchdown. He's a great player and we need him to play that way in the fourth quarter.'
Cutler has the highest rating of any quarterback in the NFL in the fourth quarter.
And Jennings' Pick-6 was the sixth this season for the Bears.
"That's a part of playing good defense, not only get the take-away but take it to the house," Smith said. "Tim Jennings did some other good things. And just like we talk about the offense, the defense stood up when it needed to in the fourth quarter.
"In the end, it doesn't matter how you do it. Is it a win or is it a loss?"