Bears may have lost game, but Cutler the concern


Bears may have lost game, but Cutler the concern

It was halftime when Bears quarterback Jay Cutler approached backup Jason Campbell.

Jay told me, Hey, get ready. Im not sure now of the status of my injury. Just get ready to go out and play the second half, Campbell recalled. From that point on, the coaches came out and said, Youre in. Lets roll.

Cutler suffered a concussion in the Bears 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday night, and its uncertain what his status is entering next Mondays game against the San Francisco 49ers. It was a tough blow for the Bears, who couldnt overcome another stale offensive evening on a sloppy night at Soldier Field.

But it was a tougher blow for Cutler, who took a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit from Texans middle linebacker Tim Dobbins near the end of the first half. Cutler was down for a few moments before popping back up. He finished the first half before telling Campbell at halftime that the backup better be prepared.

Dobbins saw the hit differently.

I did not hit him in his head and actually he ran into me. I just felt like he was going to take off and run with the ball and I thought he was past the line, Dobbins said. I was very surprised when he went down to the ground but I hope hes all right. He is definitely a tough quarterback.

Coach Lovie Smith was hopeful that Cutler could return next week, but you cant go that far. We just know he had symptoms, which started clearing up after the half. When a guy doesnt finish the game, youve just got to go with that right now.

Asked if he could tell Cutler had a concussion, Campbell said no, not right off the bat.

You know, Jays a tough guy. I think he tried to keep fighting and fighting through it, Campbell continued. Unfortunately he wasnt able to keep it going. You just try to make the right decision and do the right thing at this point in the season.

Yes, it is about doing the right thing. Ironically, Cutlers concussion comes on the night the Bears and U.S. Army co-hosted a pregame forum to discuss concussionstraumatic brain injury. The Bears also lost defensive end Shea McClellin to a concussion early in Sundays game.

And it was a tough weekend for other quarterbacks as well. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick sustained a concussion, as did Alex Smith of the 49ers -- the Bears next opponent.

But the Bears concern is obviously for Cutler. Hes sustained his share of nasty hits and has certainly proven to be one of the toughest players in the league. Still, the hits -- and head injuries -- start to add up. This is Cutlers second concussion, the last coming on Oct. 3, 2010, against the New York Giants when Cutler was sacked nine times in the first half. At one point in that game, Cutler wobbled toward the wrong sideline.

Hes a tough guy and obviously we want him on the field, Bears center Roberto Garza said. Nobody can question his toughness. We look to have him back soon.

But if Cutler cant return next week, the Bears are confident in what Campbell can do.

Thats why we got Jason. Were better off now than we were last year at this time, Brian Urlacher said. Hopefully hell be back soon. But Jason did a good job. Its a tough situation throwing the ball in those conditions. It cant be easy. I thought he came in and did a good job for us.

Morning Update: Cubs tie up World Series with Game 2 win; Bulls begin season against Celtics

Morning Update: Cubs tie up World Series with Game 2 win; Bulls begin season against Celtics

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Cubs offense settling into World Series groove

Cubs offense settling into World Series groove

CLEVELAND - It doesn't take long for the 2016 Cubs to rebound.

Their American League-style lineup is just simply too talented to keep down for an extended period of time, especially with Kyle Schwarber now added back into the fold.

They Cubs hitters are so confident, they even left Progressive Field feeling good about themselves despite being shut out in Game 1 of the World Series.

The Cubs got on the board early Wednesday night, plating a run on the third batter of the game as Anthony Rizzo doubled home Kris Bryant.

"Take the momentum away. Take the crowd out of it," Bryant said. "It's nice to score first. Especially when you're the visiting team, to get out there and score within the first three batters is huge."

The early lead helped the lineup settle in and keep their foot on the gas for a 5-1 victory to take the series back to Wrigley Field tied one game apiece.

"Especially with a young lineup, I think when you see a few guys go up there and take some good quality at-bats, one happens after the other and the other guys seem to do the same thing," Ben Zobrist said. "It takes a lot of pressure off. When you see other guys having good, quality at-bats, you don't feel like you have to take pitches and you can be aggressive early on. 

"Oftentimes when you're aggressive in the zone is when you take the tough ones. We did a good job tonight laying off some good pitches. When they made mistakes in the zone, we really hit the ball hard. Even though we scored five runs, obviously we had a lot of baserunners on and we could've scored a lot more."

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Zobrist has a point.

The night after leaving nine runners on base and going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, the Cubs left 13 runners on base and tallied just three hits in 12 tries with runners in scoring position.

Between nine hits and eight walks, there were Cubs on base all game. Indians pitchers didn't retire Cubs hitters in order in an inning until the seventh.

The Cubs also forced the Indians to throw 196 pitches in nine innings and worked starter Trevor Bauer to 51 pitches through the first two frames.

"That was good for us," Bryant said. "We saw a lot of their bullpen, so we have a lot of information to learn from and hopefully use in the next game."

Anthony Rizzo summed up the lineup's mentality simply:

"Grind out at-bats, work the pitcher's pitch count up and get the next guy up," he said.

That "pass the baton" mentality is what drives this offense and after a brief lull in that regard in Los Angeles when they were shut out in back-to-back games in the NLCS, the Cubs leave Cleveland feeling pretty good.

"When we're able to [get pitch counts up], you can kinda feel it - our offense really feeds off of that," Zobrist said. "We believe that we're going to break through eventually."