Cutler suffers Concussion
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.—After three weeks of celebrating the arrival of Mike Martz, the Bears found out what happens when the offensive coordinator's scheme goes bad, very bad.
Jay Cutler was knocked out with a concussion, backup Todd Collins was taken out after suffering a neck stinger and a franchise record for sacks allowed was set as the Giants bagged 10 in thumping the Bears 17-3 Sunday night at New Meadowlands Stadium.
More stunning than the Bears' inability to protect Cutler and his complete lack of awareness to his surroundings was that they managed to remain in the game after a brutal first half. Cutler, who was also intercepted once by Terrell Thomas, was sacked nine times behind a makeshift offensive line and fumbled three times in the first 30 minutes.
One of the shots knocked him out with a concussion that was diagnosed at halftime when the Giants unveiled the Ring of Honor for franchise greats. The defensive line which overran the Bears might be honored at the next home game. As grisly as it was, the Bears trailed only 3-0, a testament to the strength of the defense.
The Giants (2-2) found a way to run the ball and they totaled 189 yards on the ground and got touchdowns from Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs to finish off the Bears (3-1).
Cutler wasn't made available afterward and coach Lovie Smith said Cutler will start Sunday at Carolina if he's cleared to play. Cutler will have to be checked out by a Bears doctor and an independent physician before he will be allowed to return to practice.
"If he's healthy and ready to go, of course he'll be back out there," Smith said. "He took some hits. It's hard to tell when (he suffered the concussion). We realize how it looked tonight, which was bad."
The brutal offensive showing — the Bears' only points came on a 40-yard Robbie Gould field goal in the fourth quarter after a Chris Harris fumble recovery — created real questions about what Martz was doing.
Amazingly, New York succeeded without their top pass rusher Mathias Kiwanuka. He was diagnosed with a bulging disk in his neck Friday and had four of the team's six sacks through the first three weeks. Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora had three sacks each against a patchwork line that could be without left tackle Chris Williams another week or two. Left guard Roberto Garza is also battling a knee injury.
Make no mistake, the nine sacks of Cutler were a product of three factors. First, the line was horrid and that was before right guard Lance Louis was knocked out with a knee injury. The Giants came from all directions and weren't burned once by Cutler, who had done so well with hot reads in previous weeks.
Second, Cutler was clueless to what was going on around him — and that was before the concussion. He could have avoided at least four sacks by making heady plays and throwing the ball away.
Third, Martz made no adjustments, at least none that worked. After eight sacks, Cutler took a deep drop on first down at the Bears' 19-yard line with 58 seconds remaining in the first half. Why? In desperate need of regrouping, the play asked Cutler and the line to do something it had proven it couldn't and cornerback Aaron Ross picked up the ninth sack.
Asked if he had to evaluate the play-calling, Smith said the Bears are constantly evaluating.
"The NFL is a humbling business," center Olin Kreutz said. "Sometimes you get your ass kicked."
Collins replaced Cutler and it was apparent that the backup quarterback gets no reps in practice with the offense. Martz has the starting quarterback do all of the work with the Bears' offense, leaving Collins and No. 3 quarterback Caleb Hanie to split work running the scout team.
Collins wasn't on the same page with his receivers, finishing 4 of 11 for 36 yards with one interception. Hanie finished 3 of 4 for 36 yards. Collins said he will be able to play next week.
The Bears are now tied with the Packers atop the NFC North, and the Chiefs (3-0) are the NFL's only unbeaten. A 3-1 start would have sounded appealing a month ago.
"We're not happy right now," middle linebacker Brian Urlacher said. "We didn't see this one coming. It's tough to see anyone get hit like that. Especially our quarterback."
Time's up for Cutler, Bears QBs
By Mike Imrem |
was only a matter of time, and Jay Cutler's time was up Sunday night.The Bears' quarterback couldn't make it out of the locker room for the second half at New Meadowlands Stadium.
The Giants' offense was almost as futile as the Bears' was in this ugly game but it was more than enough for a 17-3 victory.
Cutler's diagnosis was a concussion. It could have been a knee. Or a shoulder. Or an internal organ.
Most of all it could have been all of the above.
"You can only take so much," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said, "and tonight was a little too much for him."
At least Bears fans didn't have to witness Cutler stumbling around disoriented, falling to the ground and having to be steered to the sideline. He just couldn't answer roll call after intermission.
Meanwhile, Todd Collins, Cutler's replacement, was hammered to the ground in the second half and had to be attended to before walking off into the night. Overall the Bears' protection clearly was hazardous to a quarterback's health on this night.
Cutler was out of sight and maybe out of mind his when the announcement came that he was finished for the evening.
What a loss this was. Even Bears defensive stars like Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs had started referring to Cutler as the face of the franchise.
If the face of the quarterback must be Collins for a while, well, he isn't likely to survive a game if the younger, more mobile, previously more durable Cutler couldn't survive this one.
Anyway, the question isn't how this happened to Cutler. The question is what took so long for it to happen. How did he survive all of last season, his first with the Bears, and the first three games of this season?
Then came the knockout blow: The Giants sacked Cutler nine times in the first half and hit him eight more times. The Giants' pass rush poured through Bears' tight ends, through backs, through the interior of the offensive line, through here, through there, through everywhere.
To be fair, only sometimes was the blocking at fault. Sometimes the Giants' coverage was and sometimes Cutler was for holding the ball too long.
The hope was it would take more than three full games and half of another to experience the flip side of Mike Martz. The genius offensive coordinator is known for treating sacks like they are minor inconvenience rather than harmful to quarterbacks.
Could Martz be blamed for this onslaught? Who knows? Perhaps no coordinator could have protected this quarterback from that attack.
However, the combination was risky from the start: An offensive coordinator who often leaves his quarterback exposed and an offensive line not adequate enough to compensate.
So Cutler wound up with a concussion. Maybe it isn't as serious as it sounds. Maybe the Bears will have their starting quarterback back sooner than later.
"If he's healthy and ready to go, he'll be out there like all our guys," Smith said.
But if Cutler is lost for long and one concussion often leads to another and another the Bears' encouraging 3-1 record will be moot.
Have a seat, Jay
After nine sacks and a concussion, Cutler needs more than one week to recover
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- If Jay Cutler plays next week in Carolina, it won't be a victory.
Forget the final score, it'll be a loss for him and a loss for football players everywhere.
The Bears lost to the Giants 17-3 on Sunday, but the more important score is 9-1. That's nine sacks taken and one concussion for Cutler.
Nine sacks in one half, seven coming in the second quarter alone. You had to see it to believe it. Cutler only attempted 11 passes in the half. Of his seven second-quarter sacks, he fumbled three times, losing one
The Bears couldn't be sure what sack resulted in the injury. And that's the saddest indictment of a bad offensive line and an offense still finding its way, despite what the two first games showed us. When you have to watch film to see which sack ended your star quarterback's night, because there's so much to choose from, you better make some changes.
Maybe it was one of Osi Umenyiora's three sacks. Maybe it was one of Justin Tuck's three. Aaron Ross' corner blitz was the last one Cutler endured and he seemed slow to get up after it.
Thankfully, the NFL and its rabid fanbases are more educated than ever on concussions, and after the beating Cutler took at the New Meadowlands Stadium, even the most diehard Grawboski should want to give the quarterback an extra week of rest. If not more.
Cutler is tough, but he's human. And after all the harping on how his porous line was going to get him killed, it would be nice to be wrong on that one.
Details were sparse after the game, as they usually are. Cutler didn't meet with the media. Thanks to recent reforms, he will have to pass a battery of tests, and meet with an independent doctor, to earn the right to play.
I saw general manager Jerry Angelo walking late in the night in the lower confines of the stadium and as I sidled up to him, he said curtly, "I'm not in the mood to talk, partner."
Bears coach Lovie Smith wouldn't rule Cutler out of next week's game against the Panthers, but I'm going to guess Cutler sits for at least a game, especially after the recent precedent set when they benched linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer after suffering a concussion in the preseason.
If he plays, it's a shame.
We'll see," Smith said. "Jay didn't finish the game, that's all we know. We know what type of competitor he is. If he's healthy and ready to go, of course he'll be back out there, like all of them will."
Healthy has a different meaning in the NFL. But there's no way to gloss over the way Cutler was abused by the Giants' ravenous pass rush.
"It's tough to see anyone get hit like that, especially our quarterback," Brian Urlacher said. "He didn't go back in, so it's probably not good."
The Bears' 3-0 start was earned, but was also the result of making the most out of some fortune. Their luck ran out Sunday night, and it was an ugly reversal, like watching a formerly hot gambler throw craps for three straight hours.
This week, there were no arcane rules to rely on, no sloppy teams willing to give away a game with dumb penalties. The Bears were beaten up on offense and worn down on defense by a desperate New York team playing before its "Ring of Honor" initiates.
The NFL is a humbling business," center Olin Kreutz said. "Those guys are great players across the way, but sometimes you get your [butt] kicked. We did tonight."
On Cutler's last dropback just before the half ended, he was nailed by Ross, hardly the biggest hitter on the team. Cutler's toughness is well-known, but he had trouble getting up after that hit, squirming on his back before a final handoff.
You have to wonder why he was passing at all, given the Bears were on their own 19-yard line with less than a minute to play. Those previous eight sacks weren't incidental. Maybe if the Bears had a better backup than a 38-year-old they signed off his couch, Cutler would've been pulled earlier.
Mike Martz's coaching calls should get the talk radio treatment this week. There were seemingly no adjustments as Cutler continued to drop back time and time again, looking discombobulated and uncomfortable. The Bears chipped and brought in extra tight ends, to no avail. Sometimes you just have to judge the players' performances, not the coaches.
"We did make adjustments," Smith said. "Sometimes they just don't work."
For all the criticism the offensive line has gotten the past two seasons, Cutler shares in the blame, even if he has to take the brunt of the pain. He showed an alarming lack of pocket awareness, even when scrambling for his life.
That's how it goes for Cutler. When he's good, he's great, and when he's bad, he's consistently awful. Last year, he was sacked 35 times, and again, you can't blame it all on the line.
"It's hard to say [it was Cutler's fault]," Smith said. "You saw the pressure he was under. When you get a sack, it's a combination of a lot of things. Tonight before we evaluate the video, we're going to say it's all of the above. You've got to get rid of the ball quicker, we've got to block better, put them in better situations. None of us did a good enough job to win the football game."
The Bears' defense broke down late, but it kept them in the game, holding the Giants to a 3-0 lead at the half. They forced seven three-and-out drives and forced two fumbles and recovered another. Smith said he would've liked to have seen more takeaways. While the Bears gave up Ahmad Bradshaw's 129 rushing yards, only 47 came in the first half.
With Todd Collins in for Cutler in the third, the Bears' defense would've had to play above 2006 standards for this team to win.
The sky hasn't fallen on the Bears, who are, of course, 3-1. But the Bears had won their first three in spite of recurring problems, and those flaws came back to haunt them in the swamp.
The non-existent running game, the bad line play, the defense's inability to get consistent pressure on the quarterback. All played part in the loss.
Martz's offense, despite putting up great numbers in the first two games, has yet to yield a consistent rushing effort, thus negating the play-action, and forcing an all-or-nothing passing scheme.
"In the NFL, you get humbled like this," Kreutz said. "If you're good team, you bounce back. If you can't, you go into a spiral."
Last year, the Bears went into a spiral after a 3-1 start. Will this year's team be able to bounce back?
I'm willing to throw away next week's game in Carolina for Cutler's health. But when Cutler comes back, assuming he does this season, we're going to have to see some changes offensively for this team to succeed. This game's complete offensive collapse (110 yards, 0 for 13 on third downs) proved that the offense is a work in progress. It's going to be a long week in Lake Forest, and I'm curious to see what happens next.
Jon Greenberg is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com.
Hate to tell 'em, but there is NO SUCH THING as a concussion that "isn't as serious as it sounds". They often have cumulative effects.
"Maybe" this is what happens when you expect the cheap combo lock to protect your Rolex.
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he plays, it's a shame. We'll see," Smith said. "Jay didn't finish the game, that's all we know. We know what type of competitor he is. If he's healthy and ready to go, of course he'll be back out there, like all of them will."
think *anyone* making conclusions NOW is plain silly.
We don't even know if its really a concussion or if serious( granted when his head hit the turf on that play at end of 1/2 makes sense), and to already be talking like anyone knows or has a medical opinion about it, just being ill informed. Jay the franchise Qb, and erroring on the side of caution last night makes total sense after that beating- but if no lingering affects during the week( or if just plain beat up and being cauctious last night), See no reason to not Start him against the Panthers
I feel so sorry for Jay. He did what he could. But if your offensive line can't fu##ing block, then you're definitely going to lose. Even Peyton Manning would have left the game with a concussion. There was nothing a QB could do.
Get well soon, Jay! Hope everything's gonna be alright.
Could it have been some diabetic issue? He seemed off from the beginning of the game.
None of my posts on this forum have been aided by the use of deer-antler spray...
I think Cutler got his concussion on the Umenyora sack that he fumbled on....early. After that, he didn't seem to be able to make decisions.
I just hope that he didn't cause further damage by staying in as long as he did.
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Always hate bringing that up- but it has to always be a concern unfort... esp as he does seem to be "off" on many night games.. there may be 'some" bio-metric issues there
Originally Posted by draw2anderson35
and this is why we have one of the shittiest gms in football. His lackluster drafting of olinemen has sunk us the past three seasons. He usually depends on other teams left overs in FA but with that dried up we have undrafted and 7th round practice squad players on the oline. In the meantime every DT he has drafted and wasted picks on suck.
Originally Posted by loki520