Thursday, September 17, 2009
Air and Space: JayRod I is a laugher
By Kevin Seifert ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers was the runaway winner of JayRod I, and it wasn’t just because Chicago’s Jay Cutler threw four interceptions as part of his Lambeau Field meltdown. Rodgers bested Cutler in two important measures of clutch play: Fourth-quarter performance and passer rating on third and fourth downs.
Rodgers threw the game-winning 50-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s 21-15 Packers victory. Here is the breakdown of each player’s performance, courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information:
Jay Cutler vs. Aaron Rodgers in 4th quarter
* Three comp., 69 yds to Greg Jennings, including game-winning 50-yd TD with 1:18 to go.
Cutler struggled throughout the game on third and fourth downs, completing only three of 11 passes. Rodgers completed eight of 13. Again, the full breakdown:
Jay Cutler vs. Aaron Rodgers on 3rd and 4th down
Volumes have already been written on Cutler’s performance and comportment both on the field and in his postgame news conference, in which he apparently offended some reporters and former NFL coaches with his nonchalant answers. As David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune wrote, Cutler’s personal interaction with reporters is largely irrelevant.
Here is what I consider important: Did Cutler’s emotional frenzy catch up to him during the game? There’s nothing wrong with being competitive, but stomping around the field and engaging opponents physically and verbally -- as he did with Packers linebacker Clay Matthews -- aren’t exactly attributes of a mature leader.
That anxiety could have heightened his stress level in clutch situations. Most of his big plays, as you can see below, occurred on first and second down:
Jay Cutler by down vs. Packers, 9/13/09
JayRod II is scheduled for Dec. 13 at Soldier Field. I’ll try to make it this time.