CHICAGO | You would've thought Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees was wearing a Houston Texans uniform Sunday night.
In the frantic week leading up to this nationally televised cage match between potential Super Bowl teams, Bears players and coaches raved about the Texans' dominant defensive end J.J. Watt.
Beast. Relentless. Brilliant. Powerful. Those words were used often up in Lake Forest.
Watt's league-leading 10.5 sacks, 18 tackles for loss and 21 quarterback hits had earned him such high praise.
Surprisingly, Watt was not a factor the first half as Houston muscled its way to a 10-3 lead while Chicago lost rookie left defensive end Shea McClellin and quarterback Jay Cutler to concussions.
The Bears would lose 13-6 on this cold, damp night, turning the ball over four times.
Cutler's injury came on a helmet-to-helmet blow by Texans' middle linebacker Tim Dobbins at 2:56 of the second period.
Cutler finished the quarter. Backup Jason Campbell, who had attempted one pass this season, was handed the reins in the second half and wished good luck. He would need it.
Arian Foster ran for 85 yards and caught a 2-yard scoring pass the first half, giving him a touchdown in 11 consecutive games dating back to last year and his 11th this season — all in the red zone.
Houston made it 13-6 on Shayne Graham's second field goal, a 42-yarder in the mud with 4:49 left to play.
Sunday's showdown started in wild fashion as Keshawn Martin fumbled the opening kick and Blake Costanzo recovered at the Houston 18. But the play was reviewed and Martin ruled down by contact.
Then it was Chicago's turn to give back.
Tight end Kellen Davis was hit hard by ex-Bear Danieal Manning, fumbled, and Dobbins recovered to set up Graham's 20-yard field goal. Davis later had a costly drop.
It only got worse.
Backup running back Michael Bush fumbled at the Houston 30 after an 11-yard gain.
The Bears' Tim Jennings saved Bush's skin by intercepting Matt Schaub at the Houston 45.
Manning then picked off Cutler at the Texans' 6.
Jennings answered the bell once again, intercepting Schaub at the Houston 48 to set up Robbie Gould's 51-yard field goal for a 3-3 tie.
Brandon Marshall dropped a Cutler bomb in the end zone during that drive.
Gould added a 24-yard field goal late in the third quarter but had a 48-yard attempt nick the left upright and sail wide at 11:40 of the final period.
Shortly before halftime, Kareem Jackson intercepted Cutler at the Houston 27 to snuff out another promising drive.
Through almost three quarters, both teams were playing like they were 1-7, not 7-1.