Most Bears and Jay Cutler haters had plenty of ammunition following Sunday’s defeat at the hands of the Detroit Lions. Many said, “Same old Jay.” But it would be foolish to simply look at this game as another one of his many multiple-interception, losing games. There is still plenty of hope for Da Bears.
As one example, Cutler and the Bears offense has been strategic this season … At least in the first three games, making quick throws and gaining yards after the catch. In the Lions game, many plays were drawn up to have Cutler air the ball out deep. Coach Trestman was adamant about how this is on him not making enough adjustments.
Another reason to still believe in Da Bears is the defense played its worst game of the season in terms of run defense. Before that Lions game, the Bears had made sure to not give up the big plays in the running game, which made teams more one-dimensional, leaving the defensive backs with the comfort of sticking to their receivers, knowing the front seven would shut down the run. Without the help up front — most likely due to the absence of defensive tackle Henry Melton, who was lost for the season with a torn ACL — Reggie Bush ran wild for over 100 yards in the first half, capping off the Lions’ 21-point run with a 37-yard touchdown run.
We must also give credit where credit is due because, well, the Lions are an improved football team. Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are absolute monsters in the middle of the defensive line, and with a rookie guard and aging center to deal with much of that, there is only so much Cutler can do to see down field.
Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson finally have a decent running game to complement them, leaving Stafford without the pressure of having to do it all on his own to move the ball. The Lions are legitimate playoff contenders this season, whether the Green Bay Packers get back on track or not.
The final argument for Cutler is, well, he took it all in stride, never gave up and put the blame solely on himself after the game. Even after falling behind 40-16 in the fourth quarter, Cutler didn’t stop trying to correct his mistakes and execute the plays called. He had to deal with a defense knowing they couldn’t run the ball due to time left, and kept fighting through it. They were able to make a push at the end, scoring a touchdown and two-point conversion to Alshon Jeffery. Then after a failed onside kick, the defense was able to contribute with a fumble and recovery. Cutler was again able to score another touchdown and two-pointer before another failed onside kick left the game at a 40-32 Lions victory. Cutler was quick to blame his turnovers for the game, and clearly showed to be upset by his performance, citing many missed throws.
The Bears will be fine as long as they remember what made them successful as an offense in the first three games: short throws and power running. They’ll get back at it, but they’ll have to bring their A-game this weekend against the 4-0 New Orleans Saints.