A weekly analysis of the Bears’ quarterback play.
Rewind: Jay Cutler reverted to bad habits in the Bears' loss to the Detroit Lions, and that resulted in turnovers, including a fumble returned for a touchdown by Nick Fairley. Tremendous pressure from Detroit’s pass rush played a role in that. Despite the poor performance (65.6 passer rating, 36.6 QBR), Cutler never let the mistakes snowball. He kept the team in the game, and gave the Bears a chance to tie it late. What’s more encouraging is Cutler’s turnovers didn’t come as the result of poor decision-making. He made the correct reads, but didn’t accurately execute the throws he’s accustomed to making. That’s correctable.
Fast-forward: New Orleans' defense entered Monday night’s game against Miami ranked No. 4, and collected four sacks, three interceptions and a fumble recovery in that contest. So Cutler faces a daunting task against the Saints, who sacked him six times during a brutal 2011 outing the last time these teams met. Detroit took away short passes, and dared Cutler to beat the Lions with longer throws. Look for the Saints to employ a similar strategy.
Keep believing in Marc Trestman: Cutler exhibits signs that he totally believes in what the Bears are doing offensively, and no longer lets emotion get in the way of performance on the field. That shows Cutler is evolving into the quarterback the team thinks he can be. Cutler appears to have already put Sunday’s game in the past, and looks forward to rebounding. How he responds against the Saints could be a seminal moment in this season, but that will only be possible if the quarterback continues to believe in the coach, the system and the protection.
Prediction: Cutler likely won’t miss on longer attempts in this game, as he did against the Lions, but he’ll be pressured into at least one interception, and will throw a couple of TDs.