In a cold, wet and windy Soldier Field, in front of a sellout crowd and a national audience, in the club's biggest game of the season, the Chicago Bears stunk. The offense was inept for most of the evening and the defense was unable to put any points on the board. As a result, the Houston Texans walked away with a 13-6 road victory.
The Bears fall to 7-2 on the season but retain their spot atop the NFC North. They are now just one game ahead of both the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers. Chicago heads on the road next week to face the San Francisco 49ers.
-QB Jay Cutler was hit in the head on a broken play late in the second quarter. He finished the first half but left the game at halftime with a concussion. He did not return and his availability for next week is uncertain at this point.
-Early in the first quarter, DE Shea McClellin was also knocked out of the game with a concussion. He did not return.
Keys from Week 10
-In the first half of the game, Cutler was horrible. He completed just seven of 14 passes for 40 yard and two interceptions. Both of his picks were ridiculous throws into coverage. He was not under much duress yet he continually made poor decisions with the ball. In fact, he was most effective scrambling, picking up 37 yards on three carries. With the way he was playing, it was almost a blessing for Chicago's offense that he was knocked out of the game.
-Yet that thought was quickly thrown out the window as soon as QB Jason Campbell stepped on the field. In the second half, Campbell completed 11 of 19 passes but for just 94 yards – and that includes a 45-yarder to WR Brandon Marshall. Campbell is who we thought he would be: Check Down Charlie. He did complete two relatively long passes, yet for the most part, he consistently looked for his underneath receivers. Campbell led seven drives in the second half, resulting in three total points. It was as inept a performance from Chicago's quarterbacks as we've seen in a long time.
-The passing game would have had a much easier time had Chicago's offense been able to move the ball on the ground. Matt Forte carried the 16 times for 39 yards (2.4 avg.) with a long run of 8 yards. The offensive line consistently failed to open up holes for Forte, which never allowed the offense to get into a rhythm. If Campbell is at the helm for any length of time going forward, Chicago's offense has to do a much better job of moving the ball on the ground.
-The Bears turned the ball over four times in the first half, and they came early and often. On Chicago's first offensive play, TE Kellen Davis caught a 6-yard pass that he subsequently fumbled. On the next series, the Bears moved the ball into Houston territory before RB Michael Bush fumbled to finish off an 11-yard carry. Combined with Cutler's two turnovers, it's amazing the Bears went into halftime down just 10-6.
-On top of his fumble, Davis had two other drops, both at crucial points in the game. On top of that, WR Brandon Marshall had a pair of drops, one of which would have gone for a touchdown. Marshall ended the game with eight receptions for 107 yards, his fifth 100-yard game this season, but his one drop arguably cost Chicago the game.
-Of the 20 passes distributed to players other than Marshall, not a single Bears pass catcher had more than 9 yards receiving.
-While Chicago's offensive line struggled in the run game, they were very good in pass protection, not allowing a single sack all evening. Although holding penalties up front doomed a number of Bears drives.
-Chicago's defense had another strong outing, forcing two turnovers and giving up just one touchdown. They held Houston's offense to just 215 total yards, with just 88 of those coming through the air.
-CB Tim Jennings had two first-half interceptions, which kept Chicago in the game. He now has eight picks on the season, which is the most in the league. At this point, he is on the fast track to his first career first Pro Bowl.
-Other notable performances on defense include LB Brian Urlacher, who made a number of stops on defense, and whose knee appears to be getting healthier by the week. He finished with a team-leading eight tackles, two for a loss. DT Henry Melton was also outstanding, consistently filling his gaps. He ended the contest with six tackles, two for a loss. S Major Wright was also stout against the run, serving well as the club's fourth linebacker in the box.
-The Bears allowed RB Arian Foster, who came into the game leading the AFC in rushing, to rush for 102 yards, but he needed 29 carries to reach that total. His 3.5 yards per carry is nothing to write home about.
-CB Charles Tillman once again kept a top NFL receiver, Andre Johnson, in check. Flanking Johnson all day, Tillman allowed just four catches for 35 yards. It was just another in a long line of dominant performances for Tillman this season.
-Chicago's defense held Matt Schaub, a Pro Bowl quarterback, to just 14 completions for 95 yards. Overall, the D played good enough to get the win. Unfortunately, the offense could not hold up its end of the bargain.
-For the second time in three weeks, K Robbie Gould missed a kick that he normally makes, this time a 48-yarder that would have cut Houston's lead to one point in the fourth quarter.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.