By S.C. Zuba
It’s funny how one game can change so much.
Last Sunday night at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., Jay Cutler made arguably his most anticipated and worst start of his career.
Cutler threw for one touchdown and four interceptions, a career high. The eyes of America watched as Cutler broke the hearts of Chicago Bears fans while posting a passer rating of just over 10—reminiscent of the Rex Grossman days. To add to the Bears’ woes, starting middle linebacker and team captain, Brian Urlacher, dislocated his wrist and will miss the remainder of the season.
One week later, everything is different.
After their disappointing loss in the season opener, the Bears were slated to face the defending Superbowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. A game that all of the experts picked to be a landslide in the Steelers’ favor turned out to be the perfect opportunity for the Bears to prove to the world that they can overcome adversity.
Cutler and the Bears came out weak in the first quarter, but at the start of the second quarter, Cutler looked like the quarterback the Bears had traded for. While throwing for two touchdowns, Cutler passed for 236 yards and no interceptions.
More impressive than his numbers, was Cutler’s poise and confidence in the pocket.
Soldier field was a mess, and it rained for most of the game—but none of that affected Cutler. Cutler completed passes to seven different players including a 7-yard touchdown pass to rookie, Johnny Knox in traffic. Cutler threw a laser to Knox and put the ball in a place that only Knox could make a play on it.
Late in the fourth quarter, Cutler completed a pass to Devin Hester on third down that gave the Bears a first down that led to Robbie Gould’s game-winning field goal.
The Bears’ defense made key stops in the fourth quarter that kept the Steelers in field goal range, ultimately leading to Jeff Reed missing two field goals late in the game.
On the other hand, the secondary of the Bears looked shaky at best. The Steelers were able to complete on third down 6-12 times, most of which were completed on long passes. It remains to be seen what will be down with the Bears’ secondary.
This game against the Steelers could be the Bears’ toughest challenge of the season and heading into week two 1-1 after playing two playoff caliber teams isn’t so bad.
From the September 26-29, 2009 issue