Bears Grades: Inconsistent Cutler bailed out by Gould


Bears Grades: Inconsistent Cutler bailed out by Gould

Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari may want to consider naming their next bambino “Robbie” in honor of the Bears’ kicker who bailed out Cutler and the moment with 49-yard field goal in the final seconds of Sunday’s 22-20 Bears win.

Cutler was able to start just two weeks after suffering a hamstring strain in the loss to Arizona. He finished the week as “questionable” after practicing on a limited basis for the week, went through a moderate-intensity Saturday practice without problems, and came out Sunday morning to throw and test the injured hamstring.

“Went out there, felt around, threw a little bit this morning, felt good enough to go,” Cutler said. “Took some reps throughout the week felt good about our game plan and we thought we would give it a shot and see how it went.”

[MORE: Injuries mount for Bears in win over Raiders]

Much of it went reasonably well. But a franchise quarterback is paid and expected to make impact plays, not mistakes, at critical moments. Cutler had an inconsistent game that included a third interception in as many starts that did or could have cost his team a game.

Cutler completed 28 of 43 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns, all with a respectable rating of 89.4. But in the pattern of interceptions set with the Green Bay and Arizona games, Cutler in the fourth quarter threw late, off his back foot and short of tight end Martellus Bennett, who was behind safety Charles Woodson. The resulting interception came with the Bears already in field-goal range and needing a three-pointer or better for some safety after missing a first-quarter PAT.

The key for Cutler, as it was when he came back to lead a scoring drive after the interception vs. Green Bay, was “I don’t really think about that,” he said. “I talk to Marty. I talk to Adam [Gase, offensive coordinator]. What happened? What would we like to happen if we did get it right? Can’t linger on it, can’t worry about it because we got a shot and guys are depending on me to go out there and get it done.”

Cutler’s interception rate through the first quarter of the season stands at 3.4 percent, not anywhere close to the rate of top quarterbacks in whose pay range the Bears put Cutler.

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Whether because of the hamstring injury or other factors, Cutler’s accuracy waned a bit in the third quarter when he missed open receivers three times with poor throws without being under excessive pressure. The misses cut short a promising drive with the Bears in position to take the lead with either a touchdown or field goal.

Cutler did, however, complete five of eight passes in the two-minute drive for the winning field goal and suffered an egregious drop by Marquess Wilson.

“Jay is a tough son of a bug,” said coach John Fox. “He fought an injury. Some lesser guys may not have been out there, but he was. I thought, all-in-all, he played outstanding and well enough for us to win. My hat’s off to his toughness, battling through that game.”

Grade: C-

Bears logo ranked in bottom five of NFL in recent fan poll

USA Today

Bears logo ranked in bottom five of NFL in recent fan poll

The Chicago Bears logo has withstood the test of time. In a sports era full of uniform changes, the Bears have maintained the classic orange 'C' for most of their nearly 100 years in Chicago.

Unfortunately, tradition doesn't equate to popularity.

Chicago's logo ranked 28th in the NFL, according to a recent poll of nearly 1,500 football fans. Only the Redskins (29), Bengals (30), Jets (31) and Browns (32) were worse.

I’m not sure how I feel about the underbite on the “C.” I can see how this would be a polarizing feature of this logo. I wish to an extent that it met up more evenly. I think they could have had the bottom meet up in a more even fashion and still maintained the sharpness, of the “C,” which I like. I don’t mind the point [ON THE BACK SIDE OF THE “C”], without the point it would be super boring. The point actually does add something from a design standpoint that makes it stand out.

Bears fans will take exception with the results. Wins have been hard to come by in recent seasons, but there's still something special about seeing the familiar navy and orange on Sundays in the fall. The 'C' is arguably the biggest part of that. Sure, it's not a complex design overflowing with colors, but it represents a long and storied history. 

It's interesting that each of the bottom five teams have struggled to string together winning seasons. On the flipside, teams like the Saints, Falcons, Rams, Vikings and Eagles rank in the top six. Maybe it's recency bias.

In the NFC North, the Lions rank No. 2 (which is a shocker) and the Packers are No. 20. 

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Former first-round pick Kevin White hasn't caught a break -- or a touchdown -- through the first three years of his career. He has more season-ending injuries than 100-yard games and after an offseason focused on upgrades at wide receiver, White's future in Chicago beyond 2018 is very much in doubt.

Ryan Pace declined the fifth-year option in White's rookie contract, making this a prove-it year for the pass-catcher who once resembled a blend of Larry Fitzgerald and Dez Bryant during his time at West Virginia.

He's getting a fresh start from new coach Matt Nagy.

"He is healthy and he's really doing well," Nagy told Danny Kanell and Steve Torre Friday on SiriusXM's Dog Days Sports. "We're trying to keep him at one position right now so he can focus in on that."

White can't take all the blame for his 21 catches, 193 yards and zero scores through 48 possible games. He's only suited up for five. Whether it's bad luck or bad bone density, White hasn't had a legitimate chance to prove, on the field, that he belongs.

Nagy's looking forward, not backward, when it comes to 2015's seventh pick overall.

"That's gone, that's in the past," Nagy said of White's first three years. "This kid has a new future with us."

White won't be handed a job, however.

"He's gotta work for it, he's gotta put in the time and effort to do it," Nagy said. "But he will do that, he's been doing it. He's a great weapon, he's worked really hard. He has great size, good speed. We just want him to play football and not worry about anything else."