Contract year controversy:
After failing to make the playoffs in 2011 and 2012, the pressure fell on Jay Cutler’s shoulders to produce a postseason berth. Cutler not only faced pressure from the fan base, but also due to his expiring contract. The Bears brought in quarterback guru Marc Trestman to aid Cutler as head coach. The move looked great when the Bears started 3-0 and averaged over 30 points a game, but Cutler threw back to back 3 interception games which both resulted in losses. Cutler threw for over 250 yards to go along with 2 touchdowns on a short week against the Giants to move the Bears to 4-2. Unfortunately, Cutler got injured in the following game, and wouldn’t play a full game until December.
In Cutler’s place came a knight in shining armor, Josh McCown. The backup quarterback didn’t just keep the Bears in games, he won them outright on several occasions. McCown nearly lead a comeback against the Redskins after Cutler left the field. However, the legend really started to form when McCown lead Chicago to victory at Lambeau Field. Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone in the same game, but the win still enthralled Bears fans. A backup accomplished what Cutler never could, beating the Packers at Lambeau.
The Bears attempted to rush Cutler back against the Lions, but he clearly wasn’t ready. Jay threw 40 times and only racked up 250 yards. He was replaced by McCown who lead the Bears to a late score, but failed to secure the tying two point conversion.
With Cutler being reevaluated, McCown took the starting role once again. He lead the Bears to another victory. His bout against the Ravens required overtime, but it made the Chicago faithful love him even more. Mere whispers of a quarterback controversy all of a sudden took over the news cycle in the Windy City. McCown still played well against the Rams and Vikings, but the Bears lost to both teams. At 6-6, the Bears desperately needed a win against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night. McCown played lights out in a 45-21 rout of Dallas which included a highlight reel touchdown pass to Jeffery before halftime. At 7-6, the Bears faced a defining choice: Cutler or McCown