It's not how you start, it's how you finish.
However, the Bears didn't follow that old adage as they followed up their inauspicious start with a duplicate finish as they were annihilated by the Arizona Cardinals, 48-23, at Soldier Field on Sunday afternoon.
And to make matters worse, the blemish on their now 0-2 record isn't the only thing they suffered in defeat: Bears starting quarterback Jay Cutler (8-for-9, 120 yards) could be out for the foreseeable future after suffering a hamstring injury in the first half.
Late in the second quarter with the Bears trailing the Cardinals, 21-14, Cutler threw a pass that was intended for tight end Martellus Bennett (four receptions, 48 yards), who appeared to have stopped his route, and Arizona defensive back Tony Jefferson stepped in to make an easy interception and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown. While trying to make the tackle, Cutler appeared to have landed awkwardly on his shoulder. He immediately went into the locker room with the team training staff and the Bears ruled him out for the remainder of the game with a hamstring injury.
The Cutler injury was just the cherry on the top to a brutal day that seemed destined for failure from the start.
Cardinals rookie running back David Johnson returned the opening kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown to put the Bears in a 7-0 hole before they even got their hands on the ball.
Before the injury Cutler managed to keep the Bears in the game with a near perfect start. Late in the first quarter, Cutler connected with Josh Bellamy (one reception, 48 yards) who was wide open down the left sidelines for his first career NFL reception resulting in a 48-yard touchdown to even the game.
The Cardinals (2-0) quick-strike offense answered the Bellamy touchdown just over two minutes later when Carson Palmer (17-of-24, 185 yards, four touchdowns) connected with wide receiver Jaron Brown for a six-yard score. The play was set up in the red zone when Michael Floyd drew a pass interference penalty inside the 10-yard line on Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller.
A seesaw battle for nearly 25 minutes was knotted up for the second and final time when Bears rookie running back Jeremy Langford (six carries, 21 yards) scampered into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14-14 early in the second quarter.
[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]
That would be the closest the Bears came as the Cardinals outscored the hosts, 34-9, over the final 34 minutes of the contest, highlighted by a resurgence from Cardinals veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald who had eight receptions for 112 yards and three touchdowns.
Backup quarterback Jimmy Clausen struggled in relief of Cutler, finishing the game 14-of-23 for 121 yards and an interception.
The Bears tied a franchise record for penalty yards in a single game (170) as they compiled 14 penalties for 170 yards.
Chicago will look to earn its first victory of the John Fox era when they travel to Seattle take on the defending NFC champion Seahawks in Week 3.