Campbell to move past 'worst nightmare'
November, 20, 2012
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com
Kyle Terada/US PresswireJason Campbell was sacked six times in his first Bears start on Monday.SAN FRANCISCO -- Quarterback Jason Campbell called Monday night "probably the worst nightmare" after taking six sacks during a 32-7 spanking of the Chicago Bears by the San Francisco 49ers.
With little time to scan the field because of poor protection and a 49ers defense that adeptly eliminated Brandon Marshall, the club's top weapon, Campbell threw for 107 yards and a touchdown but tossed two interceptions to finish with a passer rating of 52.7.
"I'm not going to sit here and say anything about one position," Campbell said. "I think we've all from the top to bottom got a lot of work to do. (We) just need to use this as some form of a wake-up call."
San Francisco certainly delivered several knockout blows to Campbell, and a Bears rushing attack that generated just 85 yards, not to mention an offensive line that could be on the way to singlehandedly destroying the team's season. With a non-existent running game that produced 36 yards through the first two quarters, the Bears went into halftime down 20-0 in Campbell's first start since Oct. 16, 2011.
The deficit forced Chicago to play one dimensionally in the second half as it needed to throw to attempt a comeback. But Bears coach Lovie Smith refused to place any of the blame on Campbell, who was filling in for concussed starting quarterback Jay Cutler.
"I was disappointed in all of our performances tonight," Smith said. "Nobody did well tonight or played well. Jason was just a small part of that. So many of us had opportunities to do something, and we didn't tonight. We're happy to have Jason here. He, like the rest of our team, didn't have a good night tonight."
San Francisco linebacker Aldon Smith sacked Campbell 5.5 times, while Campbell took several shots under duress. Sacked by Smith for an 8-yard loss in the fourth quarter, Campbell fumbled in the end zone with Chilo Rachal recovering only to be dropped for a safety by Ray McDonald.
"We are a better team than that," center Roberto Garza said.
Bears receiver Brandon Marshall said that although Cutler is an irreplaceable cog in the offense, "Jason Campbell is more than capable." The receiver indicated that Campbell's supporting cast didn't help enough. But clearly, Campbell made his fair share of mistakes as well.
"If we give him enough time to make the throws, and when he makes the throws and we come down with it, it's a different story with him," Marshall said. "He needs guys around him making better plays. We did not do that tonight, and it's really frustrating because we have a good opportunity of us and we are in good position."
Chicago appeared to be in a similar situation in 2011. Sitting at 7-3, Cutler suffered a season-ending thumb injury that forced him out of the last six games. With backup quarterback Caleb Hanie replacing Cutler, the Bears dropped five of the last six games and missed the postseason.
Smith referenced the situation when the Bears announced Cutler would miss Monday night's game, saying the team is "in better shape" with Campbell as the backup than it was in 2011 with Hanie.
Campbell, meanwhile, just wants to stash away Monday night's performance somewhere deep in the mental Rolodex.
"These games, you just have to throw away and move forward," Campbell said. "One of the toughest games in my career, but at the same time this is a tape where we look at it, we get on ourselves; I say just throw it away and move forward.
"You have to use this as a wake-up call for us to go back to work, to push each other a little harder because it's not going to be easy. Nothing comes easy. Anything worth having (is) worth working for and worth earning. You have to go after it."