It was Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall. It was Matthew Stafford to Kris Durham, Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush.
Points were supposed to be scored. Fantasy owners were supposed to triumph. The Bears were supposed to show off their shell of a shell of their former defense and the Marc Trestman was supposed to continue his wizardly play calling.
This game was supposed to be a shootout, for all intents and purposes. But then, the NFC North happened. Penalty flags flew, Jay Cutler embodied the training camp term “general soreness” and Matthew Stafford was inaccurate on numerous occasions.
But in the end, the Lions prevailed 21-19 at Soldier field. Josh McCown relieved a clearly ailing Jay Cutler for the Bears’ two-minute drill, and he, well…. He just did Josh McCown things. The former high school football coach once again executed Trestman’s offense masterfully, firing a touchdown to Alshon Jeffery in the waning seconds of the contest.
The Bears came up short, however, on the two point conversion. After a penalty bailed out their first attempt, Matt Forte was stuffed in the backfield to ensure a Lions victory.
The morale of the story? Health is everything in the NFL. Just ask the Green Bay Packers, or Jay Cutler’s left leg.
While the common thought was that Jay Cutler’s groin injury from a few weeks ago was the reason for his general second half struggle, Cutler and Trestman claimed an ankle injury in the same leg was to blame.
“I just didn’t feel I could make some of the throws I wanted to make and move around, couldn’t be as mobile,” Cutler said in an ESPN Chicago story. “[The groin] held up OK. It’s all in the same leg, so I think that was a problem. We taped it up and it was stiff. But I felt like I could go as long as I kept it moving.”
It’s a delicate situation. Cutler is the Bears’ horse. But clearly, Josh McCown is capable of running Trestman’s offense. So is a healthy Cutler, and in a much more dynamic way, but his health is still in question. It might be for the rest of the season.
McCown’s steady play offers Trestman a security blanket, if nothing else. The Bears face the Baltimore Ravens next week. It’s too early to tell if Cutler will be ready to go for that game, but if today proved anything, it’s that “ready to go” and “100 percent” are two entirely different things.
The Bears need Cutler to be 100 percent. If Cutler were to take a game or two more to get his health issues straightened out, I doubt you’d have many people complaining.
Then again, if he feels he can be better than Josh McCown, there is no reason Cutler shouldn’t play. But an athlete’s mindset and what’s actually done on the field are two different entities, and hopefully Cutler has the fortitude to be completely honest with himself in the coming weeks.
Never thought you’d see the day when the Bears have two capable quarterbacks, both willing to take the reigns of the offense if necessary?
You’re certainly not alone.