The Chicago Bears are terrible without quarterback Jay Cutler. There is little question about that fact after Monday night's 32-7 beatdown by the San Francisco 49ers and backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Bears fans got a sliver of good news during a dreadful night when coach Lovie Smith said Cutler could return this week against the Minnesota Vikings.
"He was feeling better. He got better as time went along," Smith said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "We left him at home, didn't have him fly out. He was feeling a lot better by the end of the week so it's looking good."
Cutler suffered a concussion on an illegal hit by Houston Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins in a Week 10 loss.
The Bears fell to 2-6 without Cutler's in his three and a-half seasons in Chicago. (The two wins were against a winless Carolina Panthers team in 2011 when Cutler missed the game with a concussion and Todd Collins threw for just 32 yards, and a closeout win over the 3-12 Vikings to finish last season's collapse after a 7-3 start.)
Chicago signed backup Jason Campbell in the offseason to avoid the disastrous quarterback play they experienced last season in the event Cutler missed time again.
While it may be an upgrade from Caleb Hanie, the result was still the same. Campbell completed 14 of 22 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. He threw two interceptions -- one on a terrible read on an out route in the first half, and the second an awful overthrow of Earl Bennett -- and fumbled twice, one leading to a safety.
The Bears' line is offensive and Campbell was pressured all night, but he also made poor reads and didn't get the ball out of his hands quickly enough.
If Cutler returns Sunday, it will be to a rousing standing ovation, regardless of what he's muttered about the fans in the past.
Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.