My stomach sank when I first read that Jay Cutler's thumb was broken. The Bears have been on such a dominant streak, and Cutler has been playing the best football of his career. How could the Bears possibly survive this?
Then I remembered the Bears history: this isn't the first time the team has lost their quarterback.
In 2005, Rex Grossman broke his ankle during a pre-season game. Lovie Smith went with a rookie by the name of Kyle Orton to keep the team above water while Grossman, who was thought to be a franchise QB, rehabbed.
Orton led the Bears to an 11-5 record and the playoffs. Grossman returned for that postseason game, where they were beat by the Carolina Panthers.
Though Jim McMahon is remembered as the signal caller for the 1985 Bears, Steve Fuller started five games. (He had to get some playing to warrant a verse in the "Super Bowl Shuffle.") The Bears went 4-1 with Fuller under center, giving him the right to sing, "Bring on Atlanta! Bring on Dallas! This is for Mike and Papa Bear Halas."
Those two teams both followed the Bear philosophy of great defense and running. The '85 team ran the 46 defense that still strikes fear in the heart of offensive coordinators, and they had Walter Payton. In '05, the Bears had a suffocating defense that had 41 sacks, 24 interceptions and 32 forced fumbles. Thomas Jones ran for 1,335 yards.
If this season's Bears want to follow the script of previous teams, the defense and the running game will have to be reliable. Matt Forte's production has dropped off in recent games, and that cannot continue. The Bears pass rush was sackless against the Chargers, and that too cannot continue. But if history teaches us anything, it's that the Bears can survive this latest bit of adversity.