If there was a silver lining in yesterday’s performance, it was the realization that Jay Cutler may finally be living up to his potential with Adam Gase calling the plays.
That silver lining went away at the end of the first half however as Cutler was ruled out for the rest of the game with an apparent hamstring injury. His status for the coming week and future are still unknown as John Fox likely will address that on Wednesday.
If it wasn’t noticeable by the end of the first half with Jimmy Clausen and his lack of pocket presence and ability to deliver the ball to open receivers, it was coming out of the gate in the second. And with that said, the lack of inspired play by both sides of the team was quite apparent after Cutler’s injury. Losing your leader and captain can leave quite a dent on the play of your team but when your next man up mentality is a quarterback who seemed to have a hard time reading the defense and has a very slow, methodical release; it’s a recipe for disaster.
The best way to describe the lack of play and urgency was summed up quite fittingly by the bell cow of the offense, Matt Forte. A look of disgust traveled Forte’s face and brought forth the impending doom to all off Bears nation.
The Bears lost a spark.
For that to be acknowledged is to finally understand the importance and reliance that the team has with Cutler. The team came out in the second half practically accepting defeat and as Pernell McPhee said, “laid down” for a Cardinals team they were keeping up with and playing highly competitive football in the first half. Granted a heart breaking pick six that Cutler threw lead to not only his injury, but also a 14 point deficit.
Reviewed a few times, it’s been even brought up by the likes of Olin Kruetz that it seemed that Martellus Bennett sat on his route, then proceeded to keep running; while Cutler thought he was going to stop. That Resulted in what one could call a miscommunication interception.
It’s apparent that Jay’s interceptions need to lower, but his overall ability so far these past two weeks cannot go unnoticed. He looks like a totally different quarterback. To his drop back and the way he holds the ball, to his ability to read defenses and keep calm under pressure. A total different quarterback than we’ve seen the past few seasons. One who seems finally content and comfortable with an offense lead by one of the best young minds in the game and an accomplished and organized head coach who once claimed he wanted “super bowlers, not pro bowlers”. I believe Fox found that with this group. A competitive and motivated group of guys who have made the past two weeks against super bowl caliber teams, and kept up a good fight until losing their captain.
We can only hope the ship gets righted and Cutler will be back within a few weeks. We can only hope that the hamstring injury is not as serious as the nasty groin tear he suffered a few years ago, or the torn MCL.
We have seen in the past what the team can look like without Jay Cutler. Caleb Hanie, Todd Collins and now Jimmy Clausen can verify Bear fans feelings. Two turnovers that didn’t lead to a single touchdown brings back flashbacks of a disorganized and unmotivated Bears team that was guided by the likes of Caleb Hanie, the team can only hope not to renew that process. The lack of direction and play that we saw in the second half should wake up Bears nation that this team isn’t without flaws. The defense still has work to do. But they were competitive with Jay under center. There was always a glimmer of hope they could pull out a victory against the big dogs. But without 6 under center, Bears fans must pain it’s way to watching a relentless, and angry Seahawks team hungry for a victory in their home opener.
With that said, it’ll be hard to find a silver lining this coming Sunday.