The obvious story from the San Diego Chargers at the Chicago Bears game is the Jay Cutler injury. His broken thumb could potentially derail any post season aspirations the team may have. I happen to think they’ll be fine with Caleb Hanie under center, as the remainder of the schedule has enough winnable games on it. But I’d like to look deeper into this game, and deeper into the play of Cutler over the last few weeks. The Bears can overcome the loss, but they will definitely miss his poise running the offense.
In the last few weeks Cutler has played with the confidence of a guy that is finally comfortable in his offense. It was in the week 5 loss at Detroit when I saw the light bulb go on for him, although he played fairly well up to that point, I sensed he and the Mike Martz offense were one in that game. He was running for his life against the Wide 9 Defense of the Lions, but he trusted his receivers to be where they had to be even with his scrambling. They lost, but I thought Cutler had one of his better games as a Bear.
The last two weeks I was really impressed with Cutler stepping up and sliding away from pressure. His rhythm in the pocket was flawless. It’s no coincidence that as he’s received better pass protection his comfort level has gone up, and you add in a quality receiver returning to the offense in Earl Bennett, and you have all the pieces in place so to speak. Which is why his injury at this time (Bears 7-3 and in control of their own playoff destiny) is so tough to take.
Week 11 saw Jay hit 7 different receivers, including Johnny Knox for nearly a hundred yards, and the so far not so good Roy Williams for a season best 5 catches in which all were good for 1st downs. Bennett chipped in with 3 for 75. It was a good all around offensive game plan for the Bears.