With some of the worst protection (five sacks and a sixth QB hit) of his 2015 season, Jay Cutler managed a respectable game in which myriad mistakes throughout doomed a decent performance.
Cutler posted his 10th game with a passer rating of 88 or above (93.4), completing 26 of 37 passes for 231 yards and touchdown throws of 10 yards to Alshon Jeffery in the second quarter and four yards to Matt Forte late in the fourth. He threw an ill-advised screen pass that was telegraphed a bit and intercepted by Minnesota defensive end Justin Trattou in the fourth quarter.
“I was trying to find the back [Matt Forte],” Trattou said, “but I didn’t have time to find him so I look into the quarterback’s eyes and I saw where he was throwing it.”
But the protection issues were more a problem than Cutler mistakes, which consisted of perhaps that throw and an overthrow of Eddie Royal in the end zone. Cutler was sacked on the Bears’ second play when he held the football far too long and allowed defensive tackle Tom Johnson to drag him down for an eight-yard loss. He was sacked in the second possession when he was unable to elude an open-field dive by linebacker Chad Greenway.
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To his true credit, Cutler was able to shake off those two sacks and a third on the third possession to direct a 52-yard drive for a touchdown pass to Jeffery at the point where the Vikings had gone up 10-0 and the Bears were generating less than zero on offense.
“Same stuff as most of the year,” Cutler said, shaking his head. “Big [penalty] call on a big run. Interception with a big sack. Our protection was a little shaky today. Some more penalties… .
“It doesn’t matter who you play. You do those things consistently through a game and it’s going to make it really hard on yourself.”
Moon's Grade: B+