Cutler is sharp in crunch time for Bears

September, 8, 2013
9/08/13
6:51
PM ET
CHICAGO -- In describing Jay Cutler during the second half of the Chicago Bears' 24-21 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, some of the quarterback’s teammates used words such as "calm," "patient" and "reassuring."

“It makes you feel good when your quarterback comes into the huddle and just tells us if we keep doing what we have to do, we’ll be successful,” left tackle Jermon Bushrod said. “We listened to him. We got behind that guy.”

The result became Cutler delivering just his second comeback victory from 10 points or more behind as a Chicago Bear, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Throughout Cutler’s NFL career, which began in 2006 in Denver, the quarterback has engineered just two other come-from-behind victories in which he overcame a deficit of 10 points or more.

[+] EnlargeJay Cutler
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesJay Cutler stepped up when the Bears needed him to, including an 18-yard run on the go-ahead drive.
“I thought his confidence coming out of the first half was uncomfortable because we hadn’t moved the ball successfully,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “But there were signs that we could. I think he did a very good job in the second half not only [of] throwing it against man-to-man coverage and making some very, very difficult throws, but also some runs.”

With the Bears behind 21-17, Cutler engineered an eight-play, 81-yard drive and completed a 19-yard strike to Brandon Marshall for the go-ahead touchdown. Cutler completed three of four for 63 yards during the drive and scrambled for an 18-yard gain.

“We started clicking a little bit,” Cutler said. “They brought James [Harrison] off the edge. The line did a good job of picking him up. They doubled Martellus [Bennett] going down the middle, flipped it back and jumped Alshon [Jeffery], and [Brandon] Marshall was one-on-one in the corner. I put one up for him.”

Approximately halfway through the third quarter, Cutler led a nine-play scoring drive that spanned 80 yards and kept the possession alive with a nifty third-down scramble and throw. Facing third-and-7 from the Chicago 35, Cutler scrambled and found an open Bennett for a 30-yard gain.

In that instance, Cutler recognized Cincinnati’s coverage and took advantage.

“They were playing a little two-man [coverage] there, and the line was giving me time,” Cutler said. “I was able to run once, and got Marty [Bennett] down the sideline. The line likes that. Break the pocket and make some yardage, and it takes pressure off them.”

In turn, the quarterback applied the pressure to Cincinnati’s defense. After a slow first half in which Cutler completed 10 of 19 for 70 yards and a touchdown to Bennett, the quarterback picked up the production over the third and fourth quarters.

Cutler finished the game with 242 yards through the air and a passer rating of 93.2. Cutler completed eight of his 10 throws directed at Marshall for 104 yards and a touchdown.

“Jay was patient,” Bushrod said. “He played lights out, man. As an offense, we weren’t getting it done the way we wanted in the first half. But in the second, Jay moved around in the pocket, looked nice, got the ball out.”

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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