NFC North High Energy Player of the Week

A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 12:

Considered from at least one perspective, quarterback Jay Cutler has never played better than in the Chicago Bears' 31-26 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. His 146.2 passer rating was the best of his career and only three completions from a perfect score (158.3).

Longtime teammate Earl Bennett called Cutler's four-touchdown, zero-interception performance one of "the top five games I've seen him play." Few have carried so many layers.

Cutler has been known to make a mistake (or 26) in his career, and Sunday's matchup came against one of the NFL's most opportunistic defenses. And fairly or otherwise, many national observers tabbed the Eagles as the team that would burst the Bears' surprising season.

Cutler responded as you would hope a top-flight franchise quarterback would: with a nearly flawless performance. The Bears didn't ask him to win the game on his own -- he attempted only 21 passes -- but he provided confident leadership and executed on all of the opportunities that were presented to him.

Cutler is now one victory away from his first winning season since high school. Leading the Bears to the playoffs, whether it is via the NFC North title or a wild-card spot, would go a long way toward erasing questions about his leadership and ability to play well in pressure situations.