Bears' victory in Green Bay more than just a 'W' for Jay Cutler


Bears' victory in Green Bay more than just a 'W' for Jay Cutler

Players and coaches maintained all week that Thursday night in Green Bay against the Packers would be just another game. As expected; a balanced mindset is as important as a balanced offense and there’s usually little benefit from ramping up the gravity or importance of a game.

But for Jay Cutler, who’d never won a game in Lambeau Field as a starting quarterback, this wasn’t just another game and teammates knew it.

“I’m sure there have been times in the past where he played well and he hasn’t had his back,” said tackle Kyle Long. “We got Jay’s back, and he knows that, and he was excited.”

Cutler kept his head while many in Lambeau Field were losing theirs, completing 19 of 31 passes for a modest 200 yards (189 net) and a touchdown and passer rating of 90.8. The result was a 17-13 win, the third in the last four for the Bears and the eighth in Cutler’s last nine with a passer rating of 88 or better.

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The one-time NFL poster QB for interceptions, who showed his focus on ball security by going virtually the first two weeks of training camp without throwing a single interception, threw none on Thursday. It was his fourth INT-free game in 10 this season after five all last season. Cutler threw two or more interceptions in seven of his 15 games last season; he has yet to throw two in a game this season.

The only other time Cutler has beaten the Green Bay Packers as a starting quarterback came in 2010 and the Bears needed 18 Packers penalties to escape with a 20-17 victory. So “yeah, it’s huge,” Cutler said Thursday.

“It’s been a fun week, for me. The Sunday game, and having a baby on Monday, and turning around and playing Thursday. So now I think that everyone is looking forward to going home and spending some time with family.”

Kyle Long knows he messed up, and is ready to do what it takes to put the fighting incidents behind him

Kyle Long knows he messed up, and is ready to do what it takes to put the fighting incidents behind him

Kyle Long understands the position he’s put himself in. 

It wasn’t a week to remember for the Bears’ starting guard, who got into two separate fights over the span of three practices. Despite the relatively small likelihood he would have played, as punishment, Long was subsequently left off the team flight to New York for their preseason game against the Giants. 

“Obviously, what I did was absolutely unacceptable,” Long said after Tuesday’s practice. “As a human being, as a teammate, without question what I did was uncalled for. It was so far over the line that it was on me to handle that internally, and speak to the people that I needed to speak to.” 

Everyone around Halas Hall chalked up Long’s first scuffle with Akiem Hicks as nothing more than training camp frustrations. “Let’s clarify this: Everybody has a temper,’’ Hicks said. ‘‘Everybody gets upset. If somebody spills their coffee, you’re gonna get upset.

It was the second fight — one that saw Long remove undrafted rookie defensive end Jalen Dalton’s helmet, hit him with it, and then toss said helmet off the field — that forced the Bears’ hand. 

“It reflected poorly on the organization, the city, and the offensive line room,” he said. “That was never my intention. Moving forward, I intend to make living amends.”

Long wouldn’t go into much depth about the reason behind either fight, only mentioning that he “got a little frustrated, and it boiled over.” Talking with media after practice, he stressed the importance of publicly clearing the air before he, or the team, could move forward. 

“I think it's important and I know that the fans have a very close eye or touch on the pulse of the team of what's going on,” he said. “If I’m a fan, the last thing I want to hear about is a fight at practice. It's a distraction from what we're trying to do, which is go out and get ready for the Packers eventually and go put together some wins in the football season.” 

Before the whistle, Long’s had one of the best camps of a career that’s now going on seven seasons. The three-time Pro Bowler said that he hasn’t been this healthy since his rookie year, and that he’d “put this camp up there with any of them [he’d] be apart of.” With the air cleared and all parties on the same page, both Long and the Bears consider the fights a closed case. 

“We’re past it,” Matt Nagy added. “Now it’s not about talking anymore. For us, it’s about everybody showing what we can do. It’s showing by your actions, whether that’s being a good football player or being a good person. 

“I always tell my kids, ‘Don’t talk about it; be about it.’ So it’s time to start being about it.”

Bears now tied for best odds to reach Super Bowl from NFC


Bears now tied for best odds to reach Super Bowl from NFC

The Bears haven’t shown what their 2019 starters can do yet this preseason, but the oddsmakers in Las Vegas seem to be on board with Matt Nagy’s plans for the upcoming season.

The money is coming in on Chicago to win the Super Bowl, and the most popular sportsbooks shifted the odds for the Bears to win the conference.

They’re now tied for the best chances to reach the Super Bowl from the NFC at both MGM and Westgate, according to CBS Sports.

Both books see the Bears and Saints as favorites at 5/1 odds, while Westgate views the Rams and Eagles as equally likely.

MGM is much higher on the Packers’ chances, and both have the Vikings in the top seven.

The path to a Super Bowl berth is never easy, and Chicago will have as difficult a path as any team with two other contenders in the division.

Every single team on the odds list appears on the Bears 2019 regular-season schedule.