Maybe some day Marc Trestman will fix Jay Cutler, but it seems like it’s going to take more time, as the Chicago Bears lose 31-24 to the Carolina Panthers, with Cutler throwing two interceptions on forced throws while Cam Newton, still far from perfect, was good enough to ignore his own team’s mistakes and deliver the game winning touchdown pass to Greg Olsen.
The incredible thing about Cutler’s interceptions? He actually threw three of them. The first came in the first quarter with the Panthers leading 7-0. Cutler tried to hit Brandon Marshall but was intercepted Roman Harper, only the play was reviewed and reversed. On the next play Cutler threw another interception, throwing a bad pass down the middle towards Marshall, once again caught by Harper.
The Panthers didn’t make it easy for the Bears to throw away the game like that. On the next drive Kelvin Benjamin turned the ball over with a fumble, giving the Bears just 28 yards to work with, as Cutler found Marshall for the touchdown. On the next Panthers drive? Newton gets sacked and anther fumble happens. The Bears get just 14 yards to work with, and Cutler, without having a deep pass to confuse him, runs for a 10-yard touchdown.
With 4:44 in the second quarter and the Bears leading 21-7, Cam Newton threw and interception. The Bears had a chance to really put the hammer down, but got stuck on the Panthers 17 and Robbie Gould missed an easy 35-yard field goal. Momentum switched, and the Bears could only muster three more points down the road. Cutler threw another interception late in the fourth quarter, when the Bears were still leading 24-21.
With 4:29 left in the game the Panthers tied it all up with field goal, and after Matt Forte turned the ball over with a fumble on the next drive, the Newton-Olsen connection worked out fine once again, leading to a game winning touchdown with 2:18 left in the game.
The Bears managed to advance 31 yards on the next drive, but on 4th-and-21 Cutler was sacked for the second time in three plays, and the game was over for the Bears, falling to 2-3, left wondering when will the disease of Jay Cutler making foolish mistakes is going to get better. He’s not the only problem, as the running game stalled under Trestman again and the defense, although not terrible, could have done better on certain plays.
But the Bears remain in something of a jam. They haven’t been to the playoffs since 2010, and while Cutler is now a franchise quarterback according to his salary and the last year and a half seemed to be proof he’s heading in the right direction, his tendency to mess up on plays when focusing too much on the big play instead of the simple one keeps hurting the Bears and keeps them from fulfilling their potential.