The game was won in the fourth quarter when Jay Cutler directed touchdown drives of 93 and 80 yards, maintained both his and the team’s composure, and won another game going into the fourth quarter behind on the scoreboard.
Cutler completed 27 of 40 passes for 345 yards, his second 300-yard game, threw for two touchdowns and a rating of 100.5, just his second 100+ rating this season.
Cutler lost the ball twice in prime field position in the first half, albeit not necessarily all on him. A San Diego blitz got to him for a sack-strip in the first quarter and a second-quarter throw toward Alshon Jeffery was intercepted and returned 68 yards for a touchdown by Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett, with receiver and quarterback clearly not running the same play.
[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]
Cutler recovered beautifully to direct the controlled 80-yard drive that ended with a TD flip to Martellus Bennett. In the fourth quarter, after a discouraging missed field goal on the Bears’ opening possession of the half, Cutler guided drives of 15 and 10 plays with no room for errors. He followed the winning touchdown pass, 25 yards to Zach Miller, by checking out of a pass play to a run for a two-point conversion that the Bears needed for a three-point lead.
“Jay rebounded,” said coach John Fox. “Obviously it didn’t go in the first half quite like we wanted. We missed some opportunities in the kicking game, the pick-six, the sack-fumble. I think it says a lot about the guy when he responded in the second half. It’s what we’ve been seeing as coachings for most of the season. I’m excited for the guy. He’s done a great job.”
Moon's Grade: A
Jay Cutler’s work under Adam Gase focused on eliminating turnovers, something that was apparent from the outset of training camp as Cutler cut his interceptions dramatically. He is still picked off at crucial times in games – such as Monday’s pick-six – but his attention to ball security saw his interception rate dip to its lowest point in his career.
“Jay’s been finishing the game every single week,” said tight end Martellus Bennett. “He’s been playing very well, checking the sign language, reading the defense. He’s been a great leader for us.”
Moon's Mid-year Grade: A-