Campbell can't lead comeback vs. Texans

QB Jason Campbell (Dennis Wierzbicki/USP)

The Bears spent heavily on Jason Campbell, signing him to a $3.5 million contract this offseason. Yet the high-priced backup led the offense to just three points in the 2nd half Sunday.

Chicago Bears quarterback Jason Campbell got the call he'd been waiting for when Jay Cutler left the Houston Texans game at halftime after sustaining a concussion.

Cutler's injury was the result of a helmet-to-helmet hit by Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins with 4:14 left in the first half. Dobbins was called for unnecessary roughness after the play. Cutler was able to continue on the field for the remainder of the half, and actually scrambled for 19 yards as the second quarter concluded.

At the half, NFL medical personnel evaluated Cutler, diagnosed his injury and sidelined him for the remainder of the game.

"At first I wasn't really aware that Jay had been hurt," Campbell said after the game. "But it quickly became apparent that I'd be leading the team for the rest of the night. It's not a situation you hope for as a backup but it is a situation that you always are prepared for. A good backup quarterback is a guy who keeps his cool, who steps in and does what is necessary for a successful completion of a game. I felt confident and I was ready to take charge."

In the second half, Campbell completed 11 of 19 passes for 94 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions, good for a passer rating of 70.9. Yet, despite his best efforts, the offense failed to move the ball against Houston, resulting in just three second half points and a 13-7 Bears loss.

Campbell said the most difficult part of stepping into a game cold was establishing an immediate rhythm, especially as he hasn't practiced with the starters all season.

"I'd been doing a lot of snaps with the practice squad," Campbell said. "When I took over for Jay, the guys on offense had to adjust to my tempo and I had to anticipate theirs. It's not something that is terribly difficult to do but under game-time pressure, it becomes more complex."

Despite the loss, Campbell enjoyed his first live game action since Week 8 of the 2011 season.

"Of course," he said. "That is why I came to Chicago from Oakland. I felt this was a place where I could contribute."

The extent of Cutler's injury is unknown at this time. If the concussion lingers and he's forced to miss another game, Campbell will again be called into action this week on the road against a tough San Francisco 49ers defense.

"At this point, nobody knows for sure when Jay will be able to return," said Campbell. "I think he is in the hospital now being evaluated. I plan to come to work tomorrow and work my butt off. We have some big-time players on our offense. It's my job now to give them the best opportunity to succeed. Whatever it takes, and as long as it takes, I'll be there working with them."


Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 12 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.

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