Welcome to Black Monday.
It was bad enough the Bears lost, 29-14, to the Eagles and rookie quarterback Carson Wentz on national television Monday night. And that they fell at Soldier Field for, amazingly, the 11th time in their past 12 tries.
But neither is as alarming as quarterback Jay Cutler leaving the game with a hand injury after throwing a third-quarter interception that all-but-sealed the Bears’ fate. Cutler, who likely hurt his hand before the interception, was replaced by Brian Hoyer.
The Bears’ injury list was brutal: Cutler (hand), nose tackle Eddie Goldman (ankle), safety Adrian Amos (concussion), cornerback Bryce Callahan (concussion), outside linebacker Lamarr Houston (knee) and running back Ka’Deem Carey (hamstring) all the left the game and didn’t return. Goldman was carted off in the fourth quarter.
The Bears’ future prospects largely rely on Cutler — and the present situation isn’t good. They’re 0-2 and headed to Dallas in five days. With a weakened roster, John Fox is staring at his second-straight 0-3 start.
The Eagles took a 16-7 lead in the third quarter at the end of a plodding, eight-play, 68-yard drive when Ryan Mathews bounced backward off a pile of Bears tackles and ran in a 3-yard touchdown.
They returned to the end zone 21 seconds later.
On the first play of the Bears drive, Cutler threw right — and right into the arms of Eagles outside linebacker Nigel Bradham, who returned it 28 yards to the Bears’ 2.
Cutler, who chased Bradham after the pick, finished 12-for-17 for 157 yards, one interception and three sacks. Mathews scored again on a 1-yard flip on fourth down.
Eddie Royal provided the night’s only Bears highlight: a 65-yard punt return touchdown with 5:09 left and the game out of reach. Most of those who began the game in the stands were gone by then. Amazingly, the Bears had 2,055 unused tickets for their home opener, too.
The Bears trailed, 9-7, at halftime, but would have led if not for two field-goal gaffes.
The most glaring: kicker Connor Barth missed a 31-yard field goal near the end of the first quarter. When the Bears cut Robbie Gould two weeks ago, they touted the mid-range accuracy of Barth. Monday night, in his first field goal attempt as a Bears player, he missed only his fifth kick from under 40 yards in 85 career attempts.
The Eagles picked up an extra three points in the half’s final seconds. With eight seconds to play, Bears coach John Fox took a timeout as Caleb Sturgis was lining up a 53-yard field goal attempt. The Eagles snapped the ball anyway, and Sturgis missed it wide right. When he tried it again after the Bears’ timeout, Sturgis made the kick.
Wentz didn’t look the part of a rookie quarterback, completing six-straight passes from an empty backfield to start the Eagles’ first drive. He was eventually sacked on third down from the Bears’ 4, though, and the Eagles had to settle for a 25-yard field goal.
After Barth’s missed field goal and an Eagles punt, Alshon Jeffery willed the Bears to a touchdown. The receiver caught a 49-yard heave down the right sideline from Cutler to give the Bears the ball at the Eagles’ 5. Two plays later, Eagles cornerback Nolan Carroll was flagged for interfering with Jeffery in the end zone. With the ball at the 1, the Bears handed to Jeremy Langford for a touchdown.