Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler deserves all the heat and criticism he gets for his performance on Sunday, but he isn’t the only one who turned in a poor performance.
Cutler threw two interceptions that a quarterback can’t throw. If he were to have just thrown one of those interceptions, the Bears likely would have won. Of course, if Matt Forte catches a long touchdown pass early in the third quarter, the Bears likely would have won. If Brandon Marshall doesn’t fumble for the first big mistake the Bears had in the game, they likely would have won. If Phil Emery and Marc Trestman don’t decide to keep Michael Spurlock instead of a capable receiver, the Bears likely would have won.
Outside of two long runs, the Bears run defense wasn’t nearly as bad as the numbers indicate. Their pass defense, however, was terrible. Chris Conte was their only defensive back who made a play against a pass from a quarterback who is considered among the worst in the league.
Ultimately, Cutler deserves the majority of the blame simply because of his contract and his status with the franchise. He’s the franchise quarterback, he’s paid to win these games.
The good news for the Bears is that this isn’t a typical performance for Cutler. Typical would have been winning that game on either the last drive of regulation or the first drive of overtime.
Cutler had a number of great throws. Nobody is talking about him threading the needle on 3rd-and-10 to get their last drive of regulation going.
The Bears’ gunslinger also wasn’t the only one who struggled in Week 1. Tom Brady completed under 52 percent of his passes for less than 250 yards; everybody’s new favorite quarterback Andrew Luck also threw two interceptions and Philip Rivers completed less than 60 percent of his throws and had a passer rating of 75.6. Do I even need to mention Tony Romo? And who out there really thought they’d be better with Josh McCown?
Of course, there’s also Aaron Rodgers who you could also say lost the game for his team. The Packers were trailing by seven before his pass to Jordy Nelson was off the mark and intercepted. The Packers defense — which gets all blame for everyone of their losses — held Seattle to a field goal on their ensuing drive.
Rodgers helped the Seahawks get the points back on their next drive when he held the ball ow and was stripped by Michael Bennett. The ball went into the end zone for a safety. The ensuing Seattle drive went for a touchdown after they started in Green Bay territory. That’s 12 points Rodgers cost his team.
One Packers homer referred to the performance as the “same old Jay,” without realizing the Bears quarterback is among the most clutch in the history of the league. Cutler has thrown 13 game-winning touchdown passes. If anything, it should be a surprise that he didn’t throw on in this game.
He also seemed to think Rodgers’ poor performance was a fluke, but we’ve seen more of that Rodgers than we have of this Cutler. This was the third consecutive subpar game for Rodgers, he had two other such performances last season before being injured. This was the fifth time in his last 11 games than Rodgers has had a QBR under 60 and third time he’s been under 50.
Those are the same numbers as Cutler, however, Cutler’s total includes a game in which he played over half on one ankle against Detroit last year and one in which he never had a shot to make an impact as the team was down by 21 before he even attempted a pass against Philadelphia last year.
The same can be said for Tom Brady as his performance wasn’t unlike many he had in 2013.
It isn’t unreasonable to be concerned about Cutler’s performance. It would be much more reasonable to be concerned about the play of their wide receivers with the injury statuses of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
I’m more concerned about the lack of pass rush their defense showed for much of the game and the continued poor play of Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs.
Cutler was bad on Sunday. He also had a number of great plays. He’ll be fine and probably finish with over 4,000 yards passing and 30 touchdowns if he isn’t injured this season.
The problem is that was an awful loss for the Bears. It was one of the few home games they have early this season against one of the few “easy” opponents on their schedule.
If the Bears miss the playoffs by a game, Cutler deserves heat. Then again, so does Emery, Trestman and everyone else involved with the team.
This story also appears on cover32.com