If, as expected, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is out for the rest of regular season and maybe beyond with a broken thumb on his throwing hand, it means Caleb Hanie is the guy who the Bears will hand their playoff hopes to the rest of the way.
What do we know about Hanie? He's 26, in his fourth season from Colorado State and he played decent in relief of Cutler in the NFC Championship Game last January.
Hanie, who is listed at 6-2 and looks smaller, has never started an NFL game. He doesn't have a big arm, but it's good enough. He does seem to understand reading defenses in the limited time we've seen him play.
Are the Bears done? Too hard to say. Are they in trouble? You bet.
It's too bad for the Bears. They were on the role, winning their fifth consecutive e game Sunday against the Chargers.
The good news is the schedule is soft the rest of the way. But this is a quarterback league, and we know what losing a starter means.
Just ask the Colts.
---It's one thing for media members and teammates to rave about a rookie quarterback. But when you hear veteran opposing players raving about one, you know they mean it.
"Niceeeeee" he said. "He throws a good ball and he has the poise. You have to like to see what you like as a Cincinnati fan. He had poise and did what he needed to do. He put them in a position to win."
"He was better than we thought he was," Ravens corner Lardarius Webb said.
Dalton threw three interceptions, but he also threw for 373 yards, a touchdown and had the Bengals inside the 10 in the final minute with a chance to tie.
"He's a rookie, but he's a very good football player," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.
The Bengals have to be thrilled with Dalton so far. He just may end up being the best rookie quarterback in this class, maybe even better than Cam Newton.
----By now, you know I am big believer in playing rookie quarterbacks. All you do by playing an aging vet is delay the inevitable. That's why the Titans need to play Jake Locker. He came off the bench to play well in the Titans loss to the Falcons. He was 9-of-19 for 140 yards and a touchdown after Hasselbeck went out with an elbow injury. Hasselbeck was 13 of 25 for 124 yards and an interception when he left. He led the Titans to three points. It's time to play Locker. The Titans aren't going to the playoffs.
---The Falcons had to get Roddy White back involved in the offense and they did in a big way against the Titans. He caught seven passes for 147 yards. When the Falcons get Julio Jones back from a hamstring injury, they need to be more wide-open with White and Jones on the field together with third receiver Harry Douglas, who had four catches for 51 yards. Why the success? The Falcons used the no-huddle more. They are clearly better when Matt Ryan is calling the plays at the line of scrimmage.
---Packers receiver Jordy Nelson had six catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns against the Bucs. That begs this question: Is he now the best receiver on the roster? He just might be.
---Say this for Dolphins coach Tony Sparano: He isn't going down without a fight. Sparano's team has won three consecutive games and pushed the Giants the week before starting the streak. What if Sparano gets this team to 8-8? Does he come back? Not likely, but you have to like his fight.
---All those who wanted to keep John Skelton in as the starting quarterback in Arizona might want to change that thinking. Skelton was horrible against the 49ers, completing 6 of 19 passes for 99 yards and three picks. Kevin Kolb will get back in the lineup -- no doubt.
---You have to give Vince Young credit for his play Sunday night. Sure, he made some mistakes. But he made the plays when he needed to on that fourth-quarter drive to win it. Maybe he has changed.