CHICAGO (AP) — Jay Cutler got pulled before he ever entered the game. Matt Forte and Julius Peppers watched from the sideline, and Brian Urlacher wasn't even at the stadium.
Considering the Chicago Bears were missing four of their best players and that other stars got a quick hook, it's not hard to see why they lost 31-3 to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in the preseason opener on Thursday.
Even so, coach Lovie Smith says they "didn't play as well" as he expected.
Urlacher's absence was hardly a shocker after he missed time in six practices because of his injured left knee and for personal reasons, but Forte and Peppers were also spectators. So was Cutler. He had already warmed up when Smith decided to give the quarterback a breather.