Jay Cutler wants the offense to raise its level of play to supplement what he called a "Super Bowl-caliber defense" because the quarterback doesn't want his group to be the reason the Chicago Bears don't reach their ultimate goal.
Speaking Monday on ESPN 1000's "The Jay Cutler Show," the quarterback acknowledged that the offenses needs to "pick up the pace."
"Offensively, I still feel like we have a long way to go to catch (the defense)," he said. "We have to raise our game up to their level because they're playing lights-out football. At the end of the day, I don't want it to come back on the offense and say, ‘Hey, you didn't win the Super Bowl. You didn't go this far because the offense was lacking.'"
Chicago's defense forced five turnovers Sunday in a 51-20 stomping of the Tennessee Titans, with linebacker Brian Urlacher returning an interception 46 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. It marked the seventh interception returned for a TD this year, extending the club's single-season record while tying for third most in NFL history (1984 Seahawks and 1999 St. Louis Rams).
The Bears became the first team in NFL history to return seven interceptions for TDs through the first eight games of the season, and the team has scored on interception returns in five of the past six games. Cornerback Charles Tilllman, meanwhile, forced a career-high four fumble against the Titans, breaking his career record of three set Nov. 22, 2009 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
"The way our defense is playing, it's going to be hard, hard, hard to beat us," Cutler said.
Chicago's defense has now forced 28 takeaways, while the offense continues to start slowly before finding a rhythm in the second half of games. Cutler completed 19 of 26 for 229 yards and three TDs to Brandon Marshall to finish with the fourth-highest passer rating of his career (138.1).
Cutler wants to see the offense match the defense's performance and consistency.
"That's something I don't want on my shoulders," Cutler said, "and I don't want to have to look the defensive guys in the eye and say, ‘Sorry, we couldn't get it done for you guys.'
"I think there's going to be a game where in December if we're lucky enough to get in the playoffs and get a shot at making a run, offensively we're going to have to come in and play. They're going to need us down the line somewhere, and we're going to have to answer the call."