Texans knock out Cutler, beat Bears 13-6
CHICAGO The Chicago Bears’ offense stalled without quarterback Jay Cutler.
Arian Foster finished with 102 yards rushing and a touchdown catch, and the Houston Texans intercepted Cutler twice before knocking him out of the game with a concussion on their way to a 13-6 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday night.
The Chicago offense was inept for the most of the game even with Cutler behind center.
Tim Dobbins delivered the biggest blow when he drove his helmet into Cutler late in the second quarter.
The Bears are 12-2 in Cutler’s past 14 starts, but were 1-5 in the final six games in 2011 when Cutler went down with a thumb injury.
Cutler was replaced by Jason Campbell, but he was unable to get the offense in gear. Yet, Brian Urlacher believes are better prepared to play without Cutler than a season ago.
“That’s why we got Jason (Campbell). We’re better off now than we were last year at this time. If something were to happen to him, hopefully he will be back soon. Jason did a good job. (It’s) a tough situation throwing the ball in these conditions. It can’t be easy. I thought he came in and did a good job for us,” Urlacher.
Cutler completed just 7 of 14 passes for 40 yards with two interceptions in the first half and was seen in street clothes after the game being driving off on a cart by team officials. Campbell threw for 94 yards in the second half.
In a showdown between two of the NFL’s best teams, the Texans (8-1) beat the Bears (7-2) at their own game. They got four takeaways.
Chicago entered the game leading the league in takeaways and turnover differential and its seven defensive touchdowns tied the 1942 team’s record, but the Bears didn’t get the big score on defense against the Texans despite two interceptions by Tim Jennings.
Unable to get the big plays on defense and losing Cutler put the Bears in a bad spot.
“Not good enough. We have to make more big plays. They had four takeaways, we have to get at least four. We have to outplay their defense every week, that’s our goal and we didn’t do that today,” Urlacher said.
Foster was the only reliable offensive option on either side, particularly in the first half when he ran for 85 yards and made a sprawling catch for a 2-yard touchdown to put Houston ahead 10-3.
“He (Matt Schaub) made a great throw. I was either going to get it or nobody was. It was a tough stretch. It was just big for our team at that moment. We put together a really good drive and we needed to cap it off. It was just a great throw by Matt,” Foster said.
Otherwise, neither team got much going on a soggy night. The Texans did just enough, and now they’re tied with Atlanta for the league’s best record after the Falcons lost to New Orleans.
“I think we showed them we can win any game, any situation, any time, any place, tough weather conditions, tough place on the road, a very good football team. We won, so say what you want,” Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt said.
Schaub threw for just 95 yards for Houston and was picked off twice by Jennings. Andre Johnson had just four catches for 35 yards. Former Bear Danieal Manning helped set the tone, forcing a fumble by Kellen Davis on Chicago’s first play from scrimmage and picking off Cutler later in the first quarter.
“You never want to lose anybody, especially our starting quarterback,” receiver Brandon Marshall said. “He is our leader, he is the heart and soul of our offense so we definitely want him to have a quickie speedy recovery.
“In the meantime, Campbell is more than capable. There was no heads hanged down when Jay was down. There was no complaining. We understand we have a starting quarterback in the backup so we’re fortunate to have him. There will be no drop off in our offense.”
Marshall finished with 107 yards receiving, but also dropped a pass in the end zone. Matt Forte never got going, running for 39 yards.
But the biggest sequence came when Cutler got hurt.
The Texans were leading 10-3 on a lunging 2-yard touchdown catch by Foster. A scrambling Cutler took a helmet-to-helmet hit from Dobbins after throwing a pass on third down at midfield late in the first half.
There were offsetting penalties on the play. Cutler got called for an illegal forward pass and then got drilled by Dobbins, who was called for unnecessary roughness.
Cutler stayed in and the drive ended with his second interception. Kareem Jackson picked off a pass intended for Marshall in double coverage at the Houston 27.
“It’s tough,” Campbell said. “That what defenses try to do.”
Was it a cheap shot?
“He caught him right under the chin,” Campbell said.
Campbell couldn’t lead them back in the second half, although there was plenty of blame to go around.
Robbie Gould kicked a 24-yard field goal late in the third period, but missed a 48-yarder early in the fourth that would have made it a one-point game. Shayne Graham kicked a 42-yarder for Houston to make it 13-6 with 4:49 left.
“We have to play better. Our defense, like I said, is doing a hell of a job keeping us in this game and we have to score points. We can’t keep missing a block here, a block there and put ourselves in (those situations). When you do that against a good team you are not going to have a chance to win,” Roberto Garza said.