The Chicago Bears winning two games in a row? Jay Cutler avoiding making any big mistakes and coming up big in the clutch? What is going on here?!
The Bears aren’t going to be in the playoffs. But they’re not as abysmal as the 0-3 record suggested after a 26-0 shutout in Seattle. That game was probably the low point of this season, and it had Jimmy Clausen in it, not Cutler. The Bears basically touched down in Seattle, got beaten up and got back on the plane. Didn’t plan on wasting too much time somewhere they had no business looking for a win at.
But with Cutler, they’ve been quite competitive. They did get crushed in the Arizona game, but it was another game in which Clausen played for the most of it.With Cutler, including the loss to the Packers, the Bears have either been in contention against better teams, or simply won their game. Both of them in dramatic fashion one might add; a field goal to beat the Raiders last week, and now a fourth quarter rally capped off by a Matt Forte touchdown.
The Bears were down 17-6 heading into the fourth, but Cutler threw two touchdown passes, and probably looked his best since a similar win over the San Francisco 49ers last season. The first one to Marquess Wilson with 3:05 left on the clock followed by a failed 2-point conversion. Maybe in hindsight it’s good they failed. It helped them go for it all on the final play. Cutler actually dropped the snap, but recovered quickly enough as Matt Forte got himself open on the corner for the game winning touchdown.
According to ESPN, Cutler averaged 12.7 air yards on his final 15 passes (including 2 touchdowns) after averaging 5.4 air yards on his first 30 attempts. Cutler had 7 off-target passes Sunday, but none of his last 15 attempts. But it’s not just the offense, playing without Alshon Jeffery, and with the dependable Forte. The defense the Bears have been changing into the 3-4 has been working better and better, especially once Jamaal Charles was off the field.
The Bears started blitzing like mad once the running back injured his knee. The Bears sent five or more pass rushers on four of Alex Smith’s final 11 dropbacks, as he completed just 2-of-9, including 0-of-3 and a sack against the blitz. Before the injury, the Bears blitzed on just one of his 24 dropbacks, which turned out as a passing touchdown to De’Anthony Thomas. We might start seeing them get more creative on defense in the coming weeks.
As we mentioned above, the Bears aren’t going too far this season. This still is a very flawed team on both ends of the ball, with Jay Cutler as their quarterback. But although it’s quite clear he’ll never be the quarterback that Bears fans wished he would be, it’s not that bad hanging on to him for another season considering the other possibility, and by the way things are going for the Detroit Lions, the Bears don’t have to worry about finishing last in the division again.