If Campbell Bears' answer, what's the question?

Updated 11/12/2012 12:33 AM
  • Chicago Bears quarterback Jason Campbell (2) talks to one of the officials late in the fourth quarter during the game.

    Chicago Bears quarterback Jason Campbell (2) talks to one of the officials late in the fourth quarter during the game. BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer

Jay Cutler will not have to worry about a quarterback controversy in his absence.

If nothing else, that much was clear amid the mud and rain Sunday night at Soldier Field.

For however long Cutler is out with a concussion, Jason Campbell will have to show considerably more than he did in the second half Sunday night against Houston or there will be calls for the return of Caleb Hanie and Todd Collins -- if that gives you any indication of how bad Campbell was in relief.

If you need a QB to throw a short pass for a 2-yard loss, it seems Campbell is your man. Other than that, not so much.

The ugly 13-6 loss to Houston was billed as the most important regular-season Bears contest in decades and by national television as the "Game of the Century."

It's a bit ridiculous for a nonconference November tilt, but who lets reality get in the way of epic hyperbole?

Hey, maybe it really was a Super Bowl preview Sunday night at Soldier Field.

Of course, we won't know that until at least Jan. 20, and if it was it will have little impact on two teams that could look much different by the time they depart for New Orleans and Super Bowl XLVII.

There are nine games to play -- including playoffs -- between now and then, injuries to overcome and adjustments to make.

As for its importance, it's as far down the list as you can get in the NFL. It wasn't for the division lead, wasn't a division game, wasn't for conference superiority and wasn't even a bad conference matchup that can still be crucial in tiebreakers.

Huge? No, not so much.

Lovie Smith can use it as a way to remind his bigheaded players that they're not as good as they thought, and Gary Kubiak can say it was a fine litmus test, albeit an early one.

After all, both came in with the same record and very similar styles, and both have a chance to go deep in the playoffs.


It's all about matchups and health in the postseason, when a team with a great record and bad offensive line can go home after one game if they face a dominant defensive line.

Similarly, a team with a hot quarterback facing a team that can't pressure the QB is going to get lit up.

But that's so long from now that no NFL team can predict what the state of affairs will be until the schedule is played out and injuries are added up.

Teams like the Texans (8-1) and Bears (7-2) are merely trying to maintain their strong playoff position and get through the remainder of the season without losing any crucial pieces of the puzzle.

The Bears didn't even make it out of the first half Sunday able to say that.

Cutler got smoked trying to make a play with four minutes left in the second quarter when he stepped over the line of scrimmage, drawing a roughing penalty on Tim Dobbins as well as a flag for his illegal forward pass.

For his trouble, Cutler also picked up a concussion and three plays later threw his second interception of the half. Cutler was in for another four plays at the end of the half but never saw the field after halftime, and the rest of the game was in Campbell's incapable hands.

The Bears' second-half offense resembled that of the old dump-and-chase, pre-Cutler style that has a better chance of boring Bears fans to tears than forcing the opposition to cry over a game-tying TD drive.

The first-half offense was at times able to move against a very strong defense, but 4 turnovers killed the home team. The second-half offense was nonexistent.

So now the Bears must take stock of their weapons, hoping Cutler returns quickly and knowing next week's opponent, the Niners, also lost their starting QB to a concussion.

But Alex Smith is no Jay Cutler and on Sunday Jason Campbell was no Colin Kaepernick.

The Bears have had nothing but breaks in 2012. Nearly everything had gone their way and they were due for some bad luck.

That's exactly what they got Sunday night.


•Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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