Bears quarterback Jay Cutler recorded a paltry passer rating of 16.7 during the first half against the Houston Texans on Sunday night.
But great quarterbacks throughout history have stunk it up early and rallied their teams with spectacular two-minute drills to close out victories.
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Cutler in fact has become renowned for great fourth quarters, so how would he do against the Texans?
We'll never know because he missed the entire second half with a concussion, and suddenly another Bears season might be in peril.
"I try not to be Dr. Smith very often," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said while offering no detailed diagnosis or prognosis.
Anyway, so goes Jay Cutler's career. Too often when he has a chance to showcase himself in an event like one between two 7-1 teams on "Sunday Night Football" …
It doesn't happen. It's always something. It's Cutler being snakebit or star-crossed or Cubs-cursed.
Cutler frequently leaves Bears fans wanting more. Certainly wanting more than an early exit from a 13-6 loss to the Texans that dropped the Bears' record to 7-2.
"He took some shots," Smith said of Cutler's concussion. "It can happen at any time."
If Jason Campbell is supposed to be a better answer at backup quarterback this season than Caleb Hanie was last season, hardly anybody in the booing Soldier Field crowd of 59,989 could figure out the question.
"It was tough," Campbell said. "Tonight was my first reps since the season started."
Cutler can't be blamed for being concussed. He was blasted late in the second quarter by Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins, who was penalized for hitting the quarterback above the shoulders.
The play aborted Cutler's opportunity these two weeks to begin elevating himself toward elite NFL status.
How is elite status defined?
Mostly by championships, of course, and only six quarterbacks have won Super Bowls the past nine years.
There are the B boys (Tom Brady and Drew Brees), the R boys (Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger) and the M boys (Peyton Manning and Eli Manning).
The Bears appear to have a chance to win a championship this season, which would give Cutler his chance to attain greatness if he can be healthy.
The other path toward elite status is prime time, and Cutler was primed to play in it twice against two other aspiring quarterbacks we'll call the S's -- Houston's Matt Schaub this week on "Sunday Night Football" and San Francisco's Alex Smith next week on "Monday Night Football."
Or maybe not, considering Smith also was concussed in his game Sunday. So, how does a showdown between Campbell and Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers grab you?
The aspiring Cutler and Smith should be OK by January and both of their teams should qualify for the postseason.
If Cutler rises up and leads the Bears through the playoffs, into the Super Bowl and ultimately to a championship, all of his previous misadventures will be something to laugh about.
Now, though, they aren't funny. They are reasons to wonder whether Cutler ever will overcome injuries, circumstances and his own self to become the franchise quarterback he's touted to be.
The instinct today is to wonder what will happen to Cutler next. If he doesn't, Bears fans and the media will start doing it for him.
Some day Jay Cutler's luck and performance in showcase games will have to change or he'll wind up as just another disappointing Bears quarterback.