The Chicago Bears won’t be making the playoffs this season (what’s new, right?), not with the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings already too far away. But without too much negative attention surrounding the team, they’re having a pretty good season, even Jay Cutler.
Cutler throwing to Zach Miller with 3:19 left in the game resulted in one of the best catches we’ve seen this season, and more importantly a game winning touchdown (22-19 over the San Diego Chargers). The Bears are now 3-5, with their two consecutive losses before this game being by just 3 points each, and overall there’s a feeling that with a couple of things going their way they could be in a very different place right now.
Without expectations, it seems that the new coaching staff has time to work more discretely and quietly without the usual fan involvement regarding Cutler. When this season began, it seemed as if this was going to be his final season for the Bears. Jimmy Clausen bottomed out in Seattle, but maybe some in the Bears coaching staff and front office, not to mention the fans, were hoping he’d do enough to merit a more immediate change. He didn’t. Anyone who has been watching Clausen since his days in Notre Dame knows he isn’t cut out to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
Playing without Matt Forte, the Bears still got a decent running game going on, with Jeremy Langford leading the way with 72 yards. Langford also caught a few passes for 70 yards, while Alshon Jeffery had another huge day with 10 receptions and 151 yards. It’s his third consecutive game with more than 116 receiving yards. The touchdowns? They went to Martellus Bennett and Miller. Langford stepping up gives the Bears another playmaker on offense.
Defense is going to take some time. The Bears are 27th in the NFL, allowing 27.6 points per game. Moving to the 3-4 defense has pushed some players away from the field, but this kind of transition, especially on a team that went 5-11 last season, takes time. Cutler hasn’t turned into Aaron Rodgers all of a sudden, but his 2-for-1 touchdown to interception ratio is quite rare for the Bears to see and his passer rating right now is at a career high. We’re not saying the Bears know he’s going to be their franchise QB for years to come, but after the disastrous ending with Marc Trestman, Cutler is winning back some support this season, without making any headlines.