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‘Disappointed’ Campbell falls flat in first start as Bears QB

SAN FRANCISCO – It was a familiar scene at Candlestick Park on Monday night: Bears backup QB Jason Campbell walking to the sideline with a look of utter frustration.

Time and again, the Bears offense sputtered to three-and-outs behind a porous offensive live and errant throws from Campbell. The former first-round pick from Auburn stared down receivers, threw into double coverage and was indecisive in the pocket.

Filling in for the concussed Jay Cutler, Campbell led the team to just one score in a 32-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers and finished the contest 14-of-22 passing for 107 yards with just five passing first downs. He even played a part in a fourth quarter safety after his third fumble of the night (though none were lost) and with the team in a big hole early, he was relied on more than planned.

“I’m very disappointed,” said Campbell. “I thought the preparation was great this week and I thought we had a chance to come in here and win a game against a great opponent, something we’ll have to do in the playoffs to get where we want to go. It was one of the worst games I’ve been through in my career.”

Throughout a career that spanned three teams, Campbell has shown a propensity for taking care of the ball, but not on this night. Campbell, who turns 31 next month, threw two interceptions on badly overthrown balls.

He

was also sacked six times, many of which occurred because he held the ball too long.

His night almost ended prematurely. On a third quarter play in 49ers’ territory, Campbell was tracked from behind by linebacker Ahmad Brooks and planted face first. He fumbled on the play and walked off the field holding his back after being medically tended to for several minutes.

Recently signed QB Josh McCown entered the game, but with a penalty giving the Bears a first down, Campbell came back in without missing a play. Moments later, Campbell’s only bright spot came, a 13-play drive capped by a 13-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall. But the moment was fleeting.

With Cutler’s status uncertain for Sunday’s pivotal intra-division contest against the Minnesota Vikings, Campbell’s play becomes a greater concern, especially with the Vikings just one game behind the Bears and Green Bay Packers for first place. When Campbell was signed in the offseason to shore up the No. 2 QB slot, it’s hard to imagine they envisioned a night like this.

“Nobody played well tonight, Jason was just a small part of it. We’re happy to have Jason here,” said Bears head coach Lovie Smith. “He, like the rest of our football team, didn’t have a good game tonight.”

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