It was the second play of the third quarter when things went sour for the Chicago Bears in today's preseason opener.
QB Jay Cutler lined up under center and faked a handoff to RB Jeremy Langford up the middle. Houston Texans NT Vince Wilfork drove C Cody Whitehair deep into the backfield and into Cutler's face.
On the right side of the formation, Kevin White ran up the seam and broke toward the sideline. Yet Texans S Andre Hal was quick to read the play and broke underneath the receiver. White then cut off his route, yet not before Cutler had released the pass.
Unlike White, Hal didn't quit on the play and made a diving interception outside the numbers. It was a crucial turnover that swung momentum in Houston's favor, from which the Bears never recovered.
The Bears had a 14-10 lead entering the second half today after scoring a late first-half touchdown from Cutler to Eddie Royal. They then received the second-half kickoff with an opportunity to extend their lead.
Yet the turnover, which was entirely the fault of White, signaled the beginning of the end for Chicago's offense. Cutler had words for White following the play and receivers coach Curtis Johnson was seen giving White the business on the sidelines.
Cutler didn't throw another pass to White until the final drive, after the Texans had built a nine-point lead. As a result, the Bears were shutout in the second half, either punting the ball or turning it over on each of their seven second-half possessions.
White finished the game with a team-high seven targets but hauled in just 3 passes for 34 yards, which includes a second-quarter dropped pass that would have resulted in a first down.
Despite the poor outing, Cutler said he's not concerned with the former first rounder.
"I'll talk to Kevin about it. It was his first game out there," Cutler said. "[The interception] left my hand so it's my responsibility. It is what it is. He's going to be fine. We're not worried about him."
On the other end of the field, Texans WR Will Fuller, the 21st overall pick in this year's draft, caught 5 passes for 107 yards and 1 TD. Had he not dropped a wide open deep ball, Fuller would have finished with well over 150 receiving yards and 2 TDs.
While Fuller made it look easy in his NFL debut, White looked uncomfortable, lacking confidence and decisiveness. That not only resulted in a poor stat line but White's mistakes were costly and demoralizing.
That said, Chicago's loss today was in no way White's fault. The Bears didn't run the ball consistently, Alshon Jeffery had a huge drop on third down, the defensive pass rush was nonexistent and Cutler was sacked five times.
White should continue to improve but his performance in Week 1 has legitimized all those who questioned his status as the 7th best player in last year's draft, at least for the time being.
If these performances become commonplace, White will lose Cutler's trust, as he did in the second half today. That would be a tough hurdle to overcome.
The Bears aren't going to quit throwing to White -- he's 6-3 and runs a 4.35 40-yard dash -- and his future is still very bright, but it's going to be at least one more week before we get a glimpse of the player the team believes White can be.null