It seemed like an innocuous play but when Washington Redskins defensive tackle Chris Baker sacked Jay Cutler in the third quarter of this afternoon's contest, the Chicago Bears' season instantly changed.
After the sack, Cutler laid on the ground holding his leg and walked gingerly off the field. He went to the locker room shortly thereafter and it was later revealed he had an injured groin. Cutler did not return to the game and he will have an MRI on the groin today.
"I'm just hopeful that it's not too serious," Marc Trestman said after the game. "This comes at a great time because he'll have a chance to heal up, as will a number of our players."
The Bears are on bye this week and won't play again until Nov. 4. Pulled groins can end a player's season, so this could drastically alter the Bears' 2013 campaign. But if it's not serious, having 15 days until the next game could be just what Cutler needs to get healthy.
Chicago plans on signing Jordan Palmer in the interim. Palmer was on the club's roster briefly during the preseason and started the preseason finale, going 11 for 17 for 111 yards and a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns.
If Cutler is going to miss time, Josh McCown will get the keys to the offense. Yet that may not be such a bad thing. The 11-year veteran looked very good against the Redskins today, completing 14 of 20 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown, good for 119.6 passer rating.
"Josh took over the huddle and move the football team," said Trestman. "I didn't ask what he liked and what he didn't like. I just called the plays according to the plan we had put together. I though he functioned very well in the offense. He's got the confidence of his teammates. He functioned like a starting quarterback. I thought Josh did a very good job today."
McCown showed good poise in the pocket today and made good decisions, stepping into his throws and delivering passes on target and with velocity. He last started a game in Chicago's 2011 preseason finale, a 17-13 victory over the Vikings in Minnesota. He's nowhere near as talented as Cutler but the Bears' offense won't crumble with McCown at the helm.
We'll know much more about Cutler's injury tomorrow afternoon. Trestman is scheduled to speak on Monday at 12:30 p.m., with GM Phil Emery speaking at 1:30 p.m.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his third season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.