Jay Cutler was brutal last night. There is no other way to say it, no other way to spin it and no other way to try and massage his performance into something other than what we all saw.
In a game that seemed to set professional football back in terms of entertainment and a watchable televised event, Cutler threw five picks in a 10-6 loss amidst penalties, poor execution and overall bad football.
But, is this what football has come to in Chicago under Cutler? He now leads the league with 17 interceptions. Yes, the same guy who has the new contract extension, the same guy who was welcomed into this city as a franchise quarterback and the same guy who the Bears mortgaged the 2010 draft for.
I honestly can’t explain as to why he played so poorly last night. He forced passes, threw the ball into coverage, and at times, it looked as if Cutler was trying to win the game—and the season—by himself, which just doesn’t work at this level. And I don’t get it, because Cutler looks like a franchise QB with the arm, the attitude and the play-making ability.
And Bears fans are stunned, shocked, and today, in deep mourning,
I received plenty of text messages last night from family, friends, ex-teammates and Bears fans. That is what happens when you fail to produce in a primetime game. You are the only action in town and everyone is watching—and Cutler was the main attraction.
I tried, as best I could, to calm them down. Sure, the first red zone pick was a harsh reminder of how risky Cutler really is every time he drops back to pass, but as the INTs started to pile up, the text messages just kept coming.
But, just as bad as Cutler and the Bears’ offense was, this game was still within reach. He started to drive the Bears down the field in the final minute, hitting slant route after slant route—as the San Fran defenders dropped seven into coverage and played off the Chicago receivers.
Cutler was actually going to do it again. He had brought the Bears back for comeback wins against the Steelers and the Seahawks, and Bears Nation was prepping for another. They would be able to turn a blind eye to the four previous picks and relish in the fact that their franchise QB would get them the Thursday night win.
Because, as much as Bears fans refuse to say it, this is why GM Jerry Angelo made the blockbuster deal in the first place. Cutler was the guy who could make the throws that Kyle Orton could not. He is the guy who was given the extension this season because he could bring you back and make that one play—the game-winning play—with the postseason hopes on the line.
And then he threw another interception—his fifth of the night—in the Niners’ end zone. A collective sigh by Chicago could be heard throughout this entire city.
The last text message I received after the game said it all from my sister-in-law: “Why did we get rid of Grossman for this guy?”
Last night, I couldn’t answer that.
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