Offensive coordinator Mike Tice exonerated quarterback Jay Cutler for walking away from him on the sidelines during Monday night’s victory.
The failed third-and-1 play in the second quarter that precipitated the snub left both coach and player frustrated — all of which was captured for a national-TV audience.
“He probably had enough of me telling him why the play didn’t work,” Tice said. “I get enough of me sometimes, too. I can talk a little bit. In the heat of the battle, it’s tough. A lot of things happen on the sideline, lot of things happen in the course of the game.”
The play in question was a Michael Bush run up the middle that was stuffed for no gain, although the Bears salvaged Robbie Gould’s 43-yard field goal from the situation.
“I was really angry about the fact that we didn’t make that third-and-1,” Tice said. “I was in his ear all the way from the time he came off the field to the time he went over and put his helmet down. And, you know, at a certain point, probably enough is enough.”
Tice said he wasn’t angry with Cutler that the play failed, just that it failed.
“I was venting (as) to why the play didn’t work, and probably at a certain point, OK, OK. We move on and he had a great game.”
Cutler finished the game with a 140.1 passer rating, the third-highest of his career, completing 18 of 24 passes for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions. That elevated his passer rating from 58.6 to an almost-respectable 75.3. Most importantly Tice said he and Cutler are OK.
“Jay and I are good,” Tice said. “I really admire his play the other night. I really admire how he has prepared himself. I really admire how he has bought in.
“It’s an emotional game, and sometimes I’m sure we all wish we would handle some things differently — not to say he should have handled that differently. But Jay and I are fine. I wish they would have got the clip at the end of the game when he smacked me on the rear end. They didn’t show that one. And I smacked him back. But they didn’t show that one. They showed the other one. So that’s the way it goes.”
Cutler contends he still doesn’t know what all the fuss was about. But he said it was necessary for him and Tice to have a conversation.
“We talk about it just because it’s so prevalent in the media for whatever reason,” the quarterback said. “It wasn’t an issue then, and it’s not an issue now. We’re happy with the win; we’re looking forward to Jacksonville. We’ve just got to keep working hard and offensively take another step forward.”
As a lightning rod for controversy, Cutler should know that he’s under the microscope, especially in a nationally televised game on a Monday night. He said he was surprised by the controversy that was created but that he shouldn’t have been.
“It gets blown out of proportion every time,” Cutler said. “So it’s part of the gig I guess.”
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall says Monday night’s mini-drama is part of the program, especially when Cutler is part of the show.
“As long as it’s not affecting our team, I think we’ll be all right,” Marshall said. “In the heat of the game, you have those moments.
“It’s not just on our sideline. It happened on Dallas’ sidelines a few times, but it’s Jay Cutler. When you mention Jay Cutler, you have to mention his passion and how fiery he is as a quarterback. I don’t think that will ever go away.”
Cutler was asked if he would prefer to have played in an earlier era when media scrutiny wasn’t as intense.
“It wouldn’t be bad,” he said, smiling. “Even six, seven, eight years ago; it wasn’t like that when I first came in the league. There are so many media outlets out there, and the competition is so great, that it makes it hard.
“Everyone’s looking for an edge; everyone’s looking for a story.”
With Cutler around, no one has to look very far.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.