Dispelling the Myth that Jay Cutler is Bad in Night Games


Nov 11, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) rushes the ball against the Houston Texans during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

“Jay Cutler can’t play at night.” “Jay Cutler has diabetes, so his blood sugar gets too low at night.”   “Diabetics can’t see at night.”

If the Bears lose on Sunday night, you’ll hear callers to sports radio coming up with every reason in the book why the Bears lost and most of them will fall on quarterback Jay Cutler.  We all remember that Thursday night game in San Francisco, the game with the five interceptions.  Maybe Jay doesn’t remember the game against the Giants when he was sacked 9 times and concussed in the first half.

It got me to thinking, is Jay Cutler really that bad at night?  Surprisingly, the splits for day vs night results were not that easy to turn up, but lo and behold, thanks to the fine folks at Yahoo Sports, I found his Day/Night splits.

Let’s have a look:

On the surface, you can look at the rating and see that Cutler’s QB rating is slightly higher at night than it is during the day, but the difference is negligible.  Another easy stat to investigate is completion percentage, again, 60.8% at night to 61% during the day.  That’s a wash too.

Some of the other stats need some extra math to get a fair comparison.  Cutler has thrown 104 TD’s during 71 day games.  That works out to 1.47 TD’s per game.  In night games, he’s thrown 37 TDs in 24 games.  That works out to 1.54 TD’s per game.  It’s slightly higher but not really a big difference.

Here comes the big one that Jay is most known for – interceptions.  During the day, Cutty has thrown76 interceptions in 71 games – a rate of 1.07 interceptions per game; at night he’s thrown 27 picks in 24 games, a rate of 1.13 INT/game.  Those stats are virtually identical.  Jay has 0.46 fumbles per night game; 0.68 fumbles per day game, which doesn’t exactly support the Jay is bad at night theory.

The stat that I was able to dig up that most closely supports that Jay doesn’t play as well at night are the ascks.  Jay has been sacked 1.99 times per day game, while he’s been sacked 2.46 times per night game.  This might tell us that Jay holds the ball a little longer at night.  Maybe he’s not as decisive, or maybe the offensive line is just bad.

The fact that the Bears have struggled in night games is probably more the result of a higher caliber of opponents in Prime Time.  You don’t often see the Jacksonville Jaguars or Cleveland Browns pop up on the schedule under the lights.  The Bears have played teams like the Packers, Giants, Vikings, Falcons and Texans in recent night games.  There aren’t a lot of pushovers among those teams.

You can’t argue that the Bears haven’t necessarily won games because of Cutler’s performances in prime time but you can’t look at his stats and tell me the Bears have lost games because of Cutler’s performances.  The numbers don’t lie.

What do you think?  Is Cutler bad at night or has this post changed your opinion?