CHICAGO — The Houston Texans created turnovers and played solid defense to beat the Chicago Bears at their own game.
The big question now for coach Lovie Smith and the Bears is how long will they be without quarterback Jay Cutler.
Arian Foster finished with 102 yards rushing and a touchdown catch, and the Texans intercepted Cutler twice before knocking him out of the game with a concussion on their way to a 13-6 victory on Sunday night.
That injury was the biggest development on a night when the Texans prevailed in a showdown between two of the NFL’s best teams.
Cutler took a helmet-to-helmet hit late in the second quarter from Tim Dobbins, and coach Lovie Smith said, started experiencing symptoms at halftime.
“He took a lot of hits, more than he needed to take,” Smith said.
Will Cutler be available next Monday night at San Francisco?
“We’re hopeful, but you can’t go that far,” Smith said. “We just know he had symptoms, which started clearing up after the half. When a guy doesn’t finish the game, you’ve just got to go with that right now.”
It was a better night for the Texans.
“I think we showed them we can win any game, any situation, any time, any place, tough weather conditions, tough place on the road, a very good football team,” defensive lineman J.J. Watt said. “We won, so say what you want.”
The Texans (8-1) had four takeaways against a team that came in with a plus-16 turnover differential, and Dobbins delivered the biggest blow when he drove his helmet into Cutler late in the second quarter.
Foster was the only reliable offensive option on either side, particularly in the first half when he ran for 85 yards and made a sprawling catch for a 2-yard touchdown to put Houston ahead 10-3.
Otherwise, neither team got much going on a soggy night. The Texans were outgained 249-215, but they did just enough to come away with the win. Now they’re tied with Atlanta for the league’s best record after the Falcons were upset by New Orleans.
“It’s huge for us, we were 7-1 going in, to come out 8-1 in a hostile place, given the weather and the team we were playing, that’s a tough group to go against,” said Matt Schaub, who threw for just 95 yards and was picked off twice by Tim Jennings.
Cutler wasn’t the only quarterback knocked out by concussions on Sunday.
S Alex Smith of the 49ers didn’t complete the game against the St. Louis Rams, which ended in a tie, after taking a big hit.
S Michael Vick also went out after getting hit on a scramble in a game against the Dallas Cowboys. The Philadelphia Eagles went on to lose 38-23 against their rivals in Philadelphia.
In Chiacgo, Cutler completed just 7 of 14 passes for 40 yards with two interceptions in the first half and was seen in street clothes after the game being driven off on a cart by team officials. Jason Campbell threw for 94 yards in the second half.
“You never want to lose anybody, especially our starting quarterback,” receiver Brandon Marshall said. “He is our leader, he is the heart and soul of our offense so we definitely want him to have a quick, speedy recovery.
“In the meantime, Campbell is more than capable. There was no heads hanged down when Jay was down. There was no complaining. We understand we have a starting quarterback in the backup so we’re fortunate to have him. There will be no drop off in our offense.”
San Francisco 49ers
Smith took a hard hit on the back of the neck from linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar after a scramble with 1:10 left in the first quarter. But the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft stayed in and completed his next five passes, including Crabtree’s TD.
After the hit, Smith was sacked three plays later and also clobbered again on a fourth-and-1 keeper. Doctors indicated to coach Jim Harbaugh that might have been the play that caused injury.
Harbaugh said Smith would be evaluated this week per NFL concussion protocol. He wasn’t available to speak to reporters. Smith, who has started 28 straight games, wound up 7 for 8 for 72 yards.
Vick was lost to a concussion after consecutive bruising hits in the second quarter and the Eagles have lost five straight games under coach Andy Reid for the first time in his 14 seasons.
Rookie Nick Foles filled in for Vick and briefly rallied the Eagles until the Cowboys started showing some touchdown versatility.
Vick was knocked on his back by linebacker Ernie Sims on an incomplete pass and was slow to get up. He headed for the locker room and Foles started warming up. Vick, however, may have been injured on the previous play when he was driven from behind headfirst into the ground by Jay Ratliff.
Vick did not talk to reporters but appeared groggy in the locker room.