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-

NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots


NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots

The great Ricky Bobby once said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” Talladega Nights hit a little too close to home for the Bears in Week 7.

They came into Sunday at 3-2 at the top of the NFC North. After a 38-31 loss to the New England Patriots, they dropped to the bottom of the division.

The Detroit Lions defeated the Miami Dolphins 32-21 to improve to 3-3, leaving them tied with the Bears in the cellar.

The Minnesota Vikings’ 37-17 victory over the New York Jets jumped them to 4-2-1 overall and first place in the division over the 3-2-1 Green Bay Packers, who were off for their bye week.

The NFC North remains the most tightly contested division in the NFL, the only one with no teams under .500 through seven weeks of the season.

The final standings may not be decided until Week 17, and the Bears have already blown the early season cushion they built for themselves while the Vikings and Packers were struggling.

The divisional action will pick up in November, and Chicago only has a pair of games left to put it all together before back-to-back-to-back games against the Lions, Vikings and Lions again.    

Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots


Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots

Matt Forte, Lance Briggs and Alex Brown join Laurence Holmes to break down the Bears 38-31 loss to the Patriots. What happened to the Bears defense over their bye week, and how did the special teams struggle so bad against New England? Plus – the guys debate Mitchell Trubisky’s decision making in the red zone and Matt weighs in on how the Bears should play his former team – the New York Jets – next week.

0:35– Special teams to blame for loss?

4:12– Where did the Bears pass rush go? 

5:27– Bad tackling followed Bears from Miami

7:25– Are the coaches to blame for the defense after the bye?

10:10– Evaluating Mitchell Trubisky’s game

11:55– Agree with Matt Nagy on Mitch’s “mental” game?

13:30– Trubisky’s red zone decision making

17:10– Are the Bears giving away games so Mitch can learn?

18:00– Bears need to run the ball more

21:04– Matt Forte scouts his former team, the New York Jets

Listen to the full podcast here or in the embedded player below.