That's Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler(notes) pictured above, crumpled and discarded. The New York Giants treated him like a party piñata on Sunday night, sacking him nine times in just two quarters, forcing three fumbles. Here's video of the massacre. (Violent content, may not be appropriate for all audiences). Justin Tuck(notes) and Osi Umenyiora(notes) each recorded three sacks while Barry Cofield(notes) had 1.5, plus an awesome dance.
Cutler was taken down for the final time with a minute remaining in the first half. Corner Aaron Ross(notes) spun him to the ground, and the quarterback's head bounced off the turf, leaving Cutler concussed and unable to return for the third quarter. Backup Todd Collins(notes) replaced him, and he was later knocked out of the game with a stinger.
Collins reportedly expects to be OK in Week 5, but Cutler's situation isn't as clear. He doesn't have a known history of concussions, which presumably works in his favor, but he'll have to pass multiple exams this week before being allowed to return to practice. At least he won't remember any of this.
Of course we knew all about the dark side to the Mike Martz offense entering the year. Martz teams have finished in the top-six in the NFL in sacks during each of his last seven seasons (2002-08), and they ranked top-six in interceptions for nine straight years. Chicago's offensive line is a league-average unit on its best days, and Sunday was one of its worst. Not only was the line humiliated by New York, but it also lost guard Lance Louis(notes) to a knee injury. This will be a tense week for Cutler owners and Bears loyalists, as we await updates. Cutler has never missed a pro start due to injury, but that streak may be near its end.
• "I'm committed to Ryan [Mathews] being our starting back," said Chargers head coach Norv Turner, shortly after using Ryan Mathews(notes) as his garbage-time back in the win over Arizona. According to Turner, Mathews was eased back into the mix, since he was recovering from both an ankle issue and a previously unknown elbow injury. Mike Tolbert(notes) had another big day against another sketchy team (100 rushing yards, TD), and a pair of user-friendly defense are ahead on the schedule (at OAK, at STL). Mathews' role should increase, but Tolbert clearly isn't giving anything away.
• This was Steve Smith's response when asked about his availability for the Chicago game in Week 5:
"Go next week? I'm just trying to walk to the bus," Smith replied. "I'm having trouble walking. Is it serious? I can't walk. That's pretty serious. It hurts to walk."
So that doesn't seem too promising. Smith suffered a high ankle sprain in Sunday's loss to New Orleans. As the Charlotte Observer's Darin Gantt notes, the Panthers are "down to Dwayne Jarrett(notes) and three rookies" in the receiving corps. That hardly seems like a recipe for success. If both Cutler and Smith are sidelined in Week 5, we could be looking at a 13-12 game. First team to score a defensive/special teams TD wins.
• Darren McFadden(notes) suffered a hamstring injury in the Raiders' Week 4 loss to the Texans, and he'll undergo evaluation by trainers today. (Yup, that's basically an update stiff-arm right there. Sorry. I'm afraid that we don't know anything more now than we did when McFadden pulled up injured). If Michael Bush(notes) is available in your league, he's an obvious waiver claim. He appears to have put the thumb injury behind him; Bush rushed for 40 yards and one score on seven carries against Houston.
• There's been lots of speculation on Michael Vick's(notes) injury thus far, and a lack of confirmed news. We know that Vick was in "considerable pain" following the loss at the Linc to Washington, and that getting dressed was a struggle. Here's the latest word from Ashley Fox of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
There were two unsubstantiated reports last night, one by Comcast SportsNet and one by NBC, that Vick has three broken ribs and will miss significant time. All Andy Reid would say after the game was that Vick has a "sore chest" and will have an MRI exam on Monday. Vick declined to speak with reporters after the game.
The Comcast report suggested 3-6 weeks, which means that Philly fans could be subjected to more Kevin Kolb(notes) than any of them care to see. If we can use one game's worth of data as a guide (and we can't, but let's just say), then Kolb's presence under center seems like good news for LeSean McCoy(notes) and basically no one else. McCoy had 12 receptions for 110 yards on Sunday; Philly completed 16 passes to running backs and just eight to wide receivers.
• Here's the full list of NFL running backs who have started a season with at least 500 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards in their opening four games: Emmitt Smith, Billy Sims, and Arian Foster(notes). According to the Houston Chronicle's Jerome Solomon, that's the full list. Pretty impressive. Foster has topped 100 total yards in each of his last five games, dating back to last season. He didn't actually get the start in Week 4 against the Raiders — punishment for missing a team meeting — but he finished in ridiculous fashion, gaining 187 total yards and breaking the plane twice.
• Yeah, we're all quite impressed that the St. Louis Rams have a 2-2 record, which puts them in a three-way tie atop the NFC West standings. But it's killing the comic value of the Rams Report Card. That thing was a lot more fun when it wasn't full of As and Bs. Is there a Niners Report Card somewhere? We may need to make a change…
Bonus Link: Here's Clinton Portis(notes), describing the injury to his groin: "I heard it pop." That really can't be good news. Ryan Torain(notes) is the appropriate add here. Just in case you haven't seen the clip of Torain bulldozing Quintin Mikell(notes) on his way to the end zone, here it is. Makes my teeth hurt, my head ache. And it makes me wish I'd added Torain two weeks ago, when the price was right.
Photos via AP Images