Jay Cutler is down for the Bears in their 13-6 loss to the Texans (Photo courtesy of Chicago Tribune)
On a rain-soaked night at Soldier Field, the Bears and Texans spent the better part of the first half turning the ball over, with the Bears leading the turnover parade with four giveaways to the Texans’ two. The Bears couldn’t settle down and by the time they did, it was too late.
But the story of the night was Jay Cutler suffering a concussion late in the first half and sitting out the second half. Cutler took a big hit from Tim Dobbins as he tried to throw a pass right at the line of scrimmage and was flagged for an illegal forward pass, which was offset by the unnecessary roughness penalty on Dobbins. Cutler returned for 7 more plays but did not come out of the locker room after the intermission. It’s been reported that this is his 6th concussion (3rd as a pro) and the first since he was bludgeoned against the Giants in 2010.
Jason Campbell failed to rally the Bears from a 10-3 deficit as the Bears dropped to 7-2. He ended his night 11 for 19 for 94 yards, 45 of which were on one pass to Brandon Marshall. That means the other 10 completions covered 49 yards. I’m reserving judgment on Campbell because it’s tough to come into a game cold with very few reps during the week, but he appeared tentative and too eager to check the ball down despite decent pass protection.
Quarterback issues aside, the Bears offense just wasn’t good enough. They had 4 turnovers including 2 fumbles and 2 Cutler first half interceptions. The Texans looked like the team better prepared to deal with the elements, especially early on. We’ve been talking about the slow starts of the Bears offense for weeks and that finally came to roost vs a quality opponent like the Texans.
Kellen Davis had the first turnover of the night, a fumble on the Bears’ first play from scrimmage. Davis also added to his stellar night with a dropped pass late in the first half as the Bears were trying to get something going on offense. He capped his night dropping a crucial 3rd and 11 pass in which he got dinged and subsequently booed off the field. Deservedly so.
Danieal Manning came to play for the Texans, with a forced fumble and an interception of a Jay Cutler pass deep in the red zone. If he had played this well while here in Chicago, perhaps they wouldn’t have let him go in free agency a couple of years ago.
Tim Jennings continued his stellar season with two more interceptions, adding to his league leading total. Have two cornerbacks from the same team ever both started the Pro Bowl? Because if they haven’t Tillman and Jennings are in line to do so.
The defense played a stellar game, allowing just about 200 total yards of total offense to the Texans. Despite the effort, Arian Foster topped the 100 yard mark on the ground and caught a 2-yard TD pass. He did most of his damage in the first half, where he racked up 93 of his 102 yards and laid out for a TD reception, the only one of the game.
Let’s go bullet points the rest of the way.
- Brandon Marshall just in the first quarter was a tale of two players. He had an amazing one handed grab and then missed one in the end zone. You take the good with the bad, but you need that TD catch badly, especially when you see how tight this game was. Marshall ended the night with 8 catches for 107.
- I think Kellen Davis just dropped another pass.
- I was calling for Earl Bennett to get the ball more. It looked like he’d get more involved, bringing in the Bears’ first catch of the night for 9 yards. And that was it from Earl.
- Matt Forte has 16 rushes for 39 yards and
addedsubtracted with 2 catches for -3 yards. Despite the slow start running the ball, he still needs to see the ball more.
- Michael Bush provided a turnover of his own, coughing one after picking up what would have been a first down. In the second half, he continues to try to hurdle ghosts. For a guy who fumbled, he needs to avoid that move unless around goal line.
- I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the offensive line. Not great, but certainly not bad and certainly not the reason the Bears lost. They neutralized JJ Watt and Cutler’s concussion can’t be blamed on their effort.
- Robbie Gould missing another FG at a crucial time. It’s hard to get down on one of the best in the business, but it’s alarming to see him missing.
- Adam Podlesh might be a good directional kicker, but he needs to pick up his game. I know that the conditions were far from ideal, but an average of 38 yards isn’t cutting it.
- I am surprised that the Texans were squib kicking away from Devin Hester. Have they seen him returning kicks lately? Punt returns, I agree generally, kicking away from him. But on kickoffs, Hester just doesn’t have the juice to merit that treatment.
- Alshon Jeffery can’t get back from his broken hand soon enough. Could another wide receiver please step up besides Brandon Marshall? Earl Bennett had 1 catch for 9 yards and Devin Hester had 2 catches for a whopping 4 yards. Not. Good. Enough.
- I called for Evan Rodriguez to get the rock more before this game. While he saw some action as a fullback, it wasn’t at his forte as a pass catcher. The other Bears’ tight ends combined for 5 catches for 17 yards. Time to put ERod in a position he was drafted for – catching the ball.
- Henry Melton is just straight up balling. He was blowing through his gap and controlling the line of scrimmage all night.
- Lost in the Cutler concussion, rookie DE Shea McClellin also suffered a concussion. He’s had a bit of a history of concussions in college, so this is alarming.
- Do they start re-sodding Soldier Field right after the game or do they wait until morning to get that done? Just awful.
The Bears get an extra day to prepare for a Monday night trip to San Francisco, which tied with the St Louis Rams on Sunday. Yes Donovan McNabb, they can have ties in the NFL. Oddly enough, Niners QB Alex Smith also left his game on Sunday with a concussion.
The story for the week will be Cutler-watch and we’ll be following the story closely through the week. If Cutler and Smith can’t go, it could be Campbell and Colin Kaepernick squaring off on MNF. ESPN cannot be pleased and may help rig the concussion test results.
As long as Cutler comes back healthy, no need to freak out over this game. Defense is still solid and the offense will get it together eventually.