Emergency QB Caleb Hanie Replaces Todd Collins, Jay Cutler for Chicago Bears

After playing well to close out the season and in Chicago’s playoff win over Seattle, the Jay Cutler many of us were worried about was the one who showed up in the NFC Championship Game. Cutler, who threw for three touchdowns against the Jets and Vikings, and two against the Seahawks in the final four games of the year, went 6/14 for 80 yards and an interception in a little over a half of football against the Packers. He left the field just before halftime with a knee injury but came out to start the second half.

The Bears went three-and-out to start the third quarter, running twice and throwing once. On their next offensive series, Todd Collins entered the game. Collins threw two incompletions before being intercepted on a third down pass. His balls were wobbly and lacked zip, and it was clear he lacked the arm strength to be in the game. After another three-and-out series the next time they had the ball, the Bears decided to make another change at quarterback.

Chicago brought Caleb Hanie in before the third quarter ended, meaning Collins and Cutler were then ineligible to return to the game because of the emergency quarterback rule. Following a few strong runs by Matt Forte, Hanie completed the longest pass of the day for the Bears, a 32-yard completion to Johnny Knox who took the ball down to the one. A Chester Taylor touchdown gave the Bears their first points of the game and brought them to a score away from tying things.

Hanie went undrafted out of Colorado State, but has been with the Bears since 2008. In three seasons in the NFL, he had thrown only 14 passes for 66 yards prior to entering the NFC Championship Game.

Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Santana Moss Blames Todd Collins

I really haven’t seen this get much play, maybe because this was the most overlooked game of the weekend. After losing to the Seahawks 35-14 (fittingly by 21 points) and seeing his season come to an end, Santana Moss was answering questions for the media. It seemed pretty clear to me that he was hanging his quarterback Todd Collins out to dry with one of his remarks:

Collins finally had a pass land in the other team’s hands. When receiver Moss gave up on a route deep down the right sideline, Marcus Trufant easily hauled in the ball and returned it 78 yards for a score.

“I thought it was a dead play,” Moss said. “Then, all of a sudden I look up and the guy is catching it like a punt. You hate to be in a situation where the ball is coming and you don’t even know it.”

That changed the game from 21-14 with about five minutes left to 28-14, essentially giving it to Seattle. I can’t stand one teammate blaming another following a loss, much less when he’s the one who quit on a play. That’s like a double-negative, blaming a teammate and quitting on a play. I know you’re pissed your season just ended, but keep your mouth shut, Santana, and stop blaming others. Poor form Santana, poor form.

(Photo courtesy Otto Greule Jr., Getty Images)