By Fred Mitchell
11:15 PM CST, November 11, 2012
The Chicago Bears had their six-game winning streak snapped and lost quarterback Jay Cutler to a concussion in Sunday night's 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans in front of a crowd of 59,989 at rainy Soldier Field.
Cutler, who was not playing well prior to suffering the concussion, took a hard hit to the head late in the second quarter but remained in the game until the intermission. He did not return in the second half as Jason Campbell took over.
Coach Lovie Smith said he didn't know what Cutler's status would be for next Monday night's game at San Francisco.
Smith did say that Cutler's concussion symptoms started to clear up during the second half and that the quarterback wanted to go back in, but "that decision was made for him" by the team doctors.
Smith said he didn't know which hit that Cutler took might have caused the concussion, and said he didn't know what concussion symptoms were present.
"I try not to be Dr. Smith too often," said Smith, adding that he accepted what he was told by the doctors.
Houston improved to 8-1, while the Bears fell to 7-2.
"You can't make the mistakes we did early on," Smith said. "If we're ever minus-2 on the turnover differential, it's not going to be a good day for us. ... But we got beat by a good football team tonight. You have to give the Texans a lot of credit.
"We're disappointed right now with the loss, but we have to get back up as soon as we possibly can."
Asked what he took away from the game, Smith said, "It's a loss, so you have to go from there. We were beaten by a good football team. We're 7-2, though. It's one game. ... There's a lot of football left to go. We'll bounce back."
The 49ers also lost their quarterback, Alex Smith, to a concussion Sunday in a 24-24 tie with the St. Louis Rams.
Campbell replaced Cutler, who took a big hit from Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins late in the second quarter, to start the second half with the Bears trailing 10-3. Robbie Gould's 24-yard field goal pulled the Bears to within 10-6 with 1:55 left in the third quarter, but Shayne Graham connected from 42 yards with 4:49 to play in the game to put the Texans ahead 13-6.
Gould tried to bring the Bears to within a point early in the final quarter, but missed a 48-yard field goal attempt that caromed off the left upright with 11:40 left after the Bears had driven to the Houston 30.
Campbell was unable to direct another scoring threat and finished 11-for-19 for 94 yards. Matt Forte was held to 39 rushing yards on 16 carries. Brandon Marshall had eight receptions for 107 yards.
"It was tough," Campbell said. "Tonight was my first reps since the season started. If I have to play (next week at San Francisco), then of course, during the week, I'll get those practice reps and get the guys used to (having) me as the quarterback."
The Texans entered with the best record in the AFC, matching the Bears’ NFC North-leading record. The hitting was fierce from the outset, with six turnovers being forced in the first half and Bears rookie defensive end Shea McClellin also being ruled out for the game early in the first quarter with a concussion.
Arian Foster made a diving catch of a 2-yard pass from Matt Schaub to give the Texans a 10-3 lead with 4:14 remaining in the first half.
The Bears trailed at the break after accumulating a mere 99 total yards of offense. Cutler completed 7 of 14 first-half passes for 36 yards. He was intercepted twice and had a passer rating of 16.7.
Cutler did manage to run for 37 yards in the first half to lead the Bears’ rushing game. Forte ran for 11 yards on seven carries and Michael Bush had one run for 11 yards, although he lost a fumble at the end of that run.
Gould's 51-yard field goal pulled the Bears into a 3-3 tie with 12:52 to play in the second quarter. The score was set up when Tim Jennings intercepted his second pass of the night and returned it 10 yards to the Houston 38. The interception was Jennings' league-high eighth of the season. A deep third-down pass intended for Marshall into the end zone failed.
The Bears turned the ball over on their first play from scrimmage when Cutler passed six yards to tight end Kellen Davis. A fumble was forced by former Bears safety Danieal Manning at the Bears' 43 and recovered by Dobbins. When the Texans' drive stalled at the 2, Graham kicked a 20-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
The Bears also turned the ball over on their next possession when Bush fumbled after an 11-yard run and Houston recovered at the Texans' 27. The fumble was forced by Glover Quin and recovered by Bradie James with 4:40 left in the first period.
The Bears got the ball back when Schaub's pass intended for Keshawn Martin was intercepted by Jennings at the Houston 45 with 2:24 left in the first quarter.
On second down, however, Cutler's deep pass intended for Davis was intercepted by Manning at the Houston 5.
The Bears entered with a six-game winning streak, their longest such stretch since they won seven in a row in 2006 en route to a Super Bowl appearance.
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