Reputations change quite quickly if there’s good reason, and the sudden change in performance quality from Jay Cutler when it comes to fourth quarters, this time saving the Chicago Bears with a dramatic touchdown throw to Martellus Bennett might change the way he’s perceived by the majority of NFL fans.
Cutler made mistakes, throwing two interceptions, but it’s the bottom line and the final play that count. The Bears remain unbeaten despite committing four turnovers, winning 31-30 against the Minnesota Vikings, dropping a lead for the second straight week.
Jay Cutler wasn’t having the best of days until the final drive that started on the Bears’ 34. He found Bennett for a huge 23-yard play that gave the Bears excellent position on the Vikings’ 16, but they needed a touchdown. So after spiking the ball to stop the clock, he found the tight end in the corner of the end zone to complete as second consecutive remarkable comeback.
He’s just ice cold, man. Mr. Fourth Quarter. So, I really appreciate and am grateful to play with him.
As you might have guessed, the man who said that about him was Brandon Marshall. Part of what Marc Trestman is trying to do involves stopping Cutler from relying so heavily on Marshall to bail him out. It might be taking time, but it’s working, as Cutler is releasing the ball a lot quicker to avoid sacks (hit only three times).
He finished with 28-of-39 for 3 touchdown passes, finding Matt Forte 11 times, Bennett 7 times and Marshall also 7 times for 113 yards and a touchdown. With 10 receptions this season for the tight end so far, he’s already very close to the halfway mark that Bears tight-ends posted the entire last season, combining for 22 receptions for 257 yards and three touchdowns in all of 2012.
Forte was having a big day overall, as the ground game worked a lot better than it did against the Bengals. He ran for 90 yards on 19 carries, overall getting 30 touches on the ball. The Bears’ defense is struggling to be as imposing as it usually is, giving up 123 yards to Adrian Peterson and Christian Ponder, but it made enough plays, including holding the Vikings to a field goal and nothing more on their final drive, to create the platform for a win.
When it comes time for the defense to make a stop or the defense to get a turnover, they do. It still counts as a win, and I’m very appreciative of that. It was a pound-for-pound, blow-for-blow heavyweight battle. They had some plays. We had some plans, and the momentum kept shifting back and forth.
The Bears forced three turnovers out of Ponder, Peterson and John Carlson. Just enough to give Cutler the chance to come up with the win, which suddenly puts them on top of the NFC North and still undefeated despite very unbalanced performances, filled with mistakes and down-moments.
The defense did stop Adrian Peterson from running outside the tackles, rushing three times across the edge for -3 yards, a trend that began in week 1 against the Lions. While everyone on the Bears could have done a better job in a game that shouldn’t have been this complicated, these kind of numbers that they did do enough things right to deserve their 2-0 start.