11:58 PM CST, November 11, 2012
You go into a game with the chance to own a piece of the best record in the league, and you come out of it with a concussed starting quarterback.
A concussed quarterback with a history of concussions, don’t forget.
Oh, and a self-inflicted loss at home.
Jay Cutler was trying to make a play, but Houston’s Tim Dobbins delivered a massive hit, catching a vulnerable Cutler flush on the chin with his helmet. Cutler finished the half, but he was done.
And so were the Bears.
Maybe they were done before that, but the second half of Sunday’s game with Jason Campbell looked a lot like the second half of last season with Caleb Hanie. Campbell turfed throws, and when he wasn’t doing that, he was throwing high and wide. Campbell hit Brandon Marshall for 45 yards down to Houston’s 10, but they still couldn’t stick it in the end zone.
Given their spectacular defense, all the Bears needed was one drive. Cutler couldn’t manage it. Campbell couldn’t, either. The receivers couldn’t hold on to passes.
Heck, the Bears couldn’t hold on to anything, and right from the start when Kellen Davis fumbled on the Bears’ first play.
Next possession, Devin Hester couldn’t fall forward for a yard, then Michael Bush fumbled back to the Texans after gaining 15 on fourth-and-inches.
Two possessions, two fumbles, too bad for Lovie Smith’s myth of “Bear weather.’’
But wait. There was more. It was Sunday night, and that is almost never Cutler’s night.
And there you go: On the Bears’ third possession, starting in Texans territory after a Tim Jennings’ interception, Cutler was picked off by Danieal Manning.
We knew the Bears offense stunk early in games, but this was bad even for them. This wasn’t play-calling. This was basic stuff. This was ball security.
To think, the Bears started with several advantages.
The first came when Texans tight end Owen Daniels was ruled out with a hip pointer. Daniels came in leading Houston in TD catches.
The second break came when nose tackle Shaun Cody was sidelined. Cody is a big reason the Texans entered the game with the second-ranked run defense.
You’d think the Bears would’ve been in a spot that would’ve led to a good start.
And then at halftime, Cutler was declared out with a concussion on a night when he wasn’t sacked. So Bears.
Truth is, Campbell’s offense didn’t look any less frustrating than Cutler’s miserable first half, save for Cutler’s two interceptions. But it didn’t feel like Campbell was in control of anything. Cutler, at least, has those fourth quarters that have saved games like Sunday night’s.
But there was no saving this one, and you have to wonder how many more games are in jeopardy. The Bears face opponents that are a lot better than the mopes the Bears beat on the way to a 7-1 record before Sunday night, and they might face trying to save a playoff-bound season with a backup quarterback who couldn’t produce.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before.
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