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.”
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.”