It could have been a moment that changed a game, a season, maybe even a career.
Ndamukong Suh, with his history of roughing up quarterbacks, broke through the Bears' protection and flushed Jay Cutler to his right. Cutler reached out with his left arm to fend off the hard-charging tackle. Suh grabbed the arm, and pulled Cutler toward him.
"From that point I knew it wasn't going to end well," Cutler said.
Suh grabbed Cutler's left shoulder and drove Cutler into his knee and into the ground.
It was part jiu-jitsu, part Charles Martin. Assuming Jim McMahon can remember what Martin did, Suh's slam must have made him wince.
This one was a clean but vicious takedown. It was the kind of hit that would have broken a lesser quarterback.
Cutler's ribs took the brunt of the hit. He stayed on the ground for a good while as Soldier Field became eerily quiet.
Finally, Cutler rose and trotted off the field. With Jason Campbell replacing him for a play, Cutler took a football on the sideline and fired it. Whoever caught it might still feel the sting of that throw.
Good enough. Helmet back on, he came back in.
They stood and applauded and screamed and pumped their fists at Soldier Field.
Cutler had taken the Lions' best shot and barely flinched.
But then with a little more than one minute remaining in the half, Cutler went to the locker room. The fear was he was done for the game. At halftime, he was X-rayed and treated.
All eyes were on the northwest tunnel as the Bears returned to the field for the start of the second half. Every Bears player came out except one. No Cutler.
Then, just before the opening kickoff of the second half, Cutler jogged out, helmet on.
Cutler kept coming, like always does. His toughness and relentlessness defined this game.
His numbers were ordinary; his impact was not. All he really needed to do after the hit was come back. And not give the ball away.
Cutler finished with just 150 passing yards. He completed 51.6 percent of his 31 throws for an average of 9.3 yards per completion.
After the injury, he didn't move and pass like himself.
"I missed some throws," he said. "I wasn't feeling exactly 100 percent, but I had to fight through it."
Bears receiver Brandon Marshall talked about how Cutler gave the Bears an emotional lift.