Simply put, Jay Cutler was the quarterback the Chicago Bears needed him to be on Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys. The Bears cruised to a 34-18 victory behind what was easily the best game of the season for the Chicago gunslinger.
Let’s start with the bad and, let’s be honest here, as far as Cutler goes there will always be some bad. The situation with offensive coordinator Mike Tice on the sidelines was inexcusable. Regardless of the discussion the two had, or who was right, who was wrong — under no circumstances should Cutler have abruptly walked away like that. It causes a scene on national television and does not set a good example for the rest of the team. In Cutler’s defense (and I don’t do this very often), the play calls were coming in far too late, as they seemingly always do for the Chicago Bears offense. He had reason to be upset, but there’s still no need to show it in such a negative way.
Next in the bad category, the fumble. As Jon Gruden cited during the broadcast, Cutler has to do a better job of using his “internal clock” when he’s being pressured. It has plagued him in the past and will likely continue to do so, however that was a single play removed from an otherwise outstanding performance. DeMarcus Ware is one of the best pass rushers in the league and even with the offensive line performing well, Cutler can’t expect to have loads of time to throw on every play so he will have to be aware of this issue throughout the rest of the season.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s get to the good which can be summed up in one word — precision. Cutler’s throws were consistently right on target all game long, finishing a terrific 18-of-24 for 275 yards and two touchdowns. He used his legs to get him out of trouble and made smart, efficient throws when he needed to. Cutler’s throws to tight end Kellen Davis on third down were both gutsy and fantastic and helped keep drives alive that resulted in points. He utilized Brandon Marshall as the true No. 1 receiver that he is, hitting him on big plays throughout the game which resulted in seven catches for 138 yards and a touchdown for the star wideout.
Ultimately, Cutler showed he has what it takes to help the Chicago Bears win a tough game, on the road and on a big stage. Consistency in doing so continues to be the biggest test for him though. Nobody questions his talent or abilities as a quarterback, but rather his ability to show leadership for an offense that lacks a true leader. The Bears offensive line played very well on Monday night, but they too — like Cutler — will not always do so. Cutler needs to continue to show them as much support as they show him (don’t think we didn’t notice the pat on the head you gave to J’Marcus in the 4th quarter, Jay).
The season is still very young and yes, it’s only one game — but with the Packers at 2-2 and the Lions 1-3 (notice I’m not taking the Vikings very seriously at this point), this was a huge win. The media can jump on Cutler all they want for his antics (and usually I would do more of that too) but winning naturally fixes a lot of things…at least for one week.