Oh what a difference a couple plays make. It’s no secret Chicago Bears fans have a love/hate relationship with quarterback Jay Cutler. No further proof is needed than on Sunday.
After Cutler hooked up with Brandon Marshall for a 34-yard touchdown pass with 1:06 left in the first quarter, Cutler’s second TD toss of the game, Bears fans were ready to sign a petition to get the QB a new contract.
Cutler is playing in his final year of his current contract.
Fast forward to the third quarter when Cutler was picked off for the second time in the game. Cutler was looking for Marshall down the right sideline but Vikings safety Harrison Smith made the interception to halt the drive. The game was tied at 24 at the time.
Immediately following the interception, Cutler’s third turnover of the game, Bears fans took to Twitterverse to voice their displeasure. Because that’s what fans do nowadays, right?
One fan tweeted the following: Lovie Smith, Marc Trestman…same problems…maybe the coach isn’t the problem…Perhaps the quarterback?
And then “Mr. Fourth Quarter”, dubbed by Marshall in the postgame press conference, orchestrated his second straight game-winning drive. Trailing 30-24 Cutler found Martellus Bennett for a 16-yard score with just 10 seconds left, to send the Soldier Field faithful into euphoria.
And much like during the days of Rex Grossman (good Rex, bad Rex), fans are back on the Cutler bandwagon. Or at least until the next Cutler interception.
It was Cutler’s 19th career fourth quarter or overtime game-winning drive.
Cutler finished the game with a quarterback rating of 97.2, four points higher than his rating in week 1 against the Bengals.
Now this is the exact reason why Cutler was brought to Chicago five years ago. Never mind the two interceptions and one fumble lost that resulted in a touchdown. Cutler, for the second straight week led the Bears down the field and ultimately to victory.
Sure the offense sputtered in the second half. But let’s also not forget the Vikings were a playoff team last season. As was the Bengals. Playoff caliber teams are going to make adjustments. Cutler and the Bears also made adjustments, it just took them 27 minutes to get it perfected.
After two games the Bears have allowed 51 points and are 2-0. Chew on that for a moment. As the season progresses the Bears are going to need to play a full 60 minutes on both sides of the ball, but for right now Bears fans should be thankful to have a quarterback who is not going to sulk on the sidelines because of one bad mistake. It should be a comforting feeling to know you have a guy under center who is capable and finally producing when it matters most.
Like the old adage says, you are only as good as your last play, and heading into the third week Cutler’s last play was pretty damn good.
TRAVIS DAVID is a contributor for FOOTBALL NATION. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Tdavid_21.