Thursday, December 26, 2013
Cutler looks beyond horrid past vs. Packers
By Michael C. Wright
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Despite a putrid recent history against the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler doesn’t plan to make Sunday’s regular-season finale about personal vindication.
Perhaps that’s the wise course to take.
“No, it’s going to take all of us to win this game,” Cutler said. “This isn’t a personal game for anybody in that locker room. It’s all of us together.”
Individually, Cutler seems to save some of his worst performances for the Packers. In eight regular-season games against Green Bay since joining the Bears in 2009, Cutler has completed 55.3 percent of his passes for 1,702 yards with nine touchdowns and 16 interceptions for a passer rating of 61.5.
Against the rest of the division, Cutler has thrown for 33 TDs and 16 interceptions.
Despite that track record, Cutler refuses to press against the Packers, and stressed “we can’t make this game more than it is,” which is a must-win contest with the NFC North title and a postseason berth on the line.
The Packers apparently know the formula for slowing down Cutler, too. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Cutler has completed 49 percent of his throws for one TD and eight interceptions when Green Bay sends five or more pass-rushers over the past five years.
During that span, the Packers have sent five or more 43 percent of the time on first down on Cutler, while the rest of the league tried that tactic just 29 percent of the time.
“Every year is independent of the next. I don't know that you can define how it was, how it's going to be. We'll know more about that at 7 o'clock Sunday night and then you got a little more to work with, but this year is this year,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “He is in a new offense, with new coaches all around him. And I think that's probably the direction and what he was thinking: ‘Let's keep it all in perspective here.’ Perspective is the present and I think that's where he's coming from.”
Cutler attributes his past struggles against the Packers simply to “we weren’t as good on offense.” But when the Bears defeated the Packers for the first time since 2010 on Nov. 4, they rolled up 442 yards on the road with a backup at quarterback in Josh McCown.
“Every game is a different story. We don’t know how it’s going to turn out,” Cutler said. “We could go out there and have to punt the first couple drives, and then get it going. We could start out hot. We’ve just got to stay in it all four quarters [on] offense, defense, [and] special teams all doing their jobs. You don’t get to choose [the situation you’re in]. It is what it is. We’re in this situation. If it [were] different, we’d approach it the same way we’re trying to win each and every game.”