The Chicago Bears were trailing 7-3 in the first quarter Sunday when they faced a first-down play at the Dallas Cowboys’ 39-yard line. Quarterback Jay Cutler had been sacked once and hit on seven other occasions in the Bears’ first three possessions, and the Bears were teetering on the edge of implosion.
Cutler looked over the line of scrimmage and saw the Cowboys preparing to send another six-man blitz. Armed with a perfect play call from offensive coordinator Mike Martz, one that that considerably shortened his usual dropback, Cutler took the snap. He retreated two steps, spotted tight end Greg Olsen 7 yards downfield, and fired the ball off his back foot.
Olsen was in the no-man’s land behind the Cowboys’ linebackers and their secondary in what appeared to be a busted single-man coverage. Olsen, in fact, sprinted the final 32 yards through the Cowboys’ secondary, benefiting from a nice block by receiver Earl Bennett, for a touchdown that gave the Bears a 10-7 advantage.
Although they would lose the lead briefly later in the first half, the Bears credited that play with calming their frenzied offensive players and suggesting they could do more than compete with the Cowboys’ defense. For that reason, the Cutler-to-Olsen connection is our Week 2 decisive moment in the NFC North.
"We were reeling a little bit and sometimes it just takes one play to turn the momentum around," Cutler said. "I hit Greg, he's gone, and we're right back in it."
(Video of the play is available on NFL.com.)