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This was the play of the game, win or lose. Let's take a look from several angles.
1. Hey coach Lovie, hopeful challenges are always a bad idea and that was a hopeful challenge toward the end of the first half when the concussed Cutler was penalized for throwing that pass after he had crossed the line of scrimmage.
Remember, in those situations there needs to be clear and convincing evidence that a call was wrong and, while it was close, there definitely was not clear and convincing evidence.
2. Let's not go overboard with the "at least Campbell is better than Caleb" crap.
Campbell had numerous chances to make the one big play in the second half that could have turned this game around and he failed.
In particular, I point to the third-down play from inside the 10 just before Gould's second field goal.
First of all, the field was wide open up the middle. If Campbell had audibled into a quarterback draw he would have walked into the end zone untouched.
Second, the rollout was particularly weak. It became apparent immediately that Campbell would not attempt to run for the touchdown, taking the pressure off a defense that would have been stressed if it had been forced to defend both pass and run.
Third, Campbell gave up on the play before he was really pressured. Once his first receiver was covered he was completely content to just heave the ball 20 yards out of bounds and the scurry back to the bench as the field goal team entered the fray.
4. Did the Bears put Cutler at risk by keeping him in for seven plays after the big hit? NFL.com columnist Gregg Rosenthal thinks so.
5. Did Cris Collinsworth fail to take the hit seriously enough? <The Score's Dan Bernstein thinks so.
6. Did Cutler cancel his radio show appearance this morning? Yes.
7. Was Cutler the only Bear to suffer a concussion on Sunday? No.
8. Haven't Cutler and McCellin suffered multiple concussions in the past? Yes. Does that mean their careers are in danger? Nobody seems to be talking about that, but they should. Unless Cutler doesn't mind his future looking like this.
9. Was the hit on Cutler really illegal? Not according to former Bear Hunter Hillenmeyer, who had to retire because of his concussions.
Not even sure u can have both of those penalties on same play. If he was across the line, he's a runner and hit to head is legal. #SNF— Hunter Hillenmeyer (@hthill) November 12, 2012
10. Is there any level of irony to the Cutler concussion? Depending on how you define irony, Yes.
It will be fascinating to compare and contrast the ways the 49ers and the Bears handle head injuries to their franchise quarterbacks heading into their showdown by the Bay next Monday.
Will one team hold their guy out to be extra extra careful? Will the protocols for bringing the players back differ in any meaningful ways?
And now, the rest of the game . . .
We could hear the ball slam into the upright.
"Rejected," said one of the guys in my section after Robbie Gould's third field goal attempt of the evening bounced straight back onto the field after it arrived at the goalposts a couple inches wide to the left.
I took in the game with my friend Tom from seats in the second row in section 344. That location gave us a great view of Gould's failed kick and a great view of a game in which the Bears couldn't quite get over the hump.
A very good Houston defense had something to say about that, certainly, but also the Bears couldn't quite make the big play that could have turned the tide, especially in the first half.
Drops by Brandon Marshall and Devin Hester stood out, as did Cutler throwing that pass in with 2:55 left in the first half in which he got clocked after he had crossed the line of scrimmage by about as much as Gould's kick missed. If the flag hadn't flown for "illegal forward pass," the Bears would have had a first down inside the 10.
Oh, and there were the fumbles. Particularly crushing was Michael Bush's giveaway, happening is it did on a powerful 4th-and-1 play that went for 11 big yards and would have given the Bears a first down on the Texan 32 midway through the first quarter. The other turnovers hurt but that one stung.
In the second half, well, even the drummer to my left ran out of gas before the game slogged to its wet and increasingly cold conclusion. A guy with a bushy salt-and-pepper Fu Manchu mustache had spent much of the game whaling away on the tin over the cement barrier that marks the edge of the balcony in that part of the stadium. His gloves must have been drenched by the second quarter but he continued to pound away until well into the fourth quarter.
The coolest thing in the end is that it turns out section 344 is the quick-getaway to the north section. After climbing the stairs to the main concourse on the west side of the stadium, we were able to depart in a hurry, on our way back to our parking space about a mile west and north of the stadium.
The great thing about going to a night game at Soldier Field is you can't really see Ridiculous (in a bad way) Stadium on your way in. So you don't have to be offended for the thousandth time by the design of the place, and by the still unbelievable decision made by Mayor Daley II and his minions to plop down the biggest glass and steel toilet bowl in the world on top of the colonnades at this war memorial.
We were also in a great mood as we arrived. For one thing, we were properly outfitted for the wetness (or at least as properly outfitted as we could have been - when you sit in the rain for a few hours, part of you is going to get wet no matter what you are wearing). But the biggest reason for our happiness was the fact that we stopped at the Eleven City Diner on South Wabash on the way there.
Is there anything better than perfectly presented corned beef and pastrami on fresh rye bread? If I ever had to pick a last meal - well, let's say this - if I ever had to pick a last lunch, this would be it. They call the pastrami and corned beef combo "The Woody Allen" at this delightful deli and that sandwich and some good cold beer were quite simply heavenly.
Not so much the Bears' performance afterwards.
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