This could’ve been one of the greatest games of Jay Cutler’s career.
But instead it turned into the first-ever NFL game in which his team lost when he had a passer rating of over 100.
Cutler had gone 25-0,including 15-0 as a Bear, when his passer rating hit triple digits. He easily exceeded that number Sunday — 119.6 — but it wasn’t enough in a 23-17 overtime loss to the Seahawks at Soldier Field.
The most spectacular play of a marvelous statistical day rescued the Bears from near-certain death in regulation.
Trailing 17-14 with 20 seconds left and starting at his own 14-yard line, Cutler launched a 56-yard bomb to Brandon Marshall that set Robbie Gould up for a clutch 46-yard field goal to send the game into overtime.
Cutler didn’t exactly instruct his main man Marshall (10 catches, 156 yards) to cut left behind the black Buick just past the lamp post, but it was your basic backyard football.
“I told Brandon to run as fast as he could down there, and I’ll throw it to you and you make a play,” Cutler said. “That’s what he did. I just tried to buy some time in the pocket, bounce around a little bit, and I found him. I put it up and he did a great job of coming back for it.”
Marshall cut in front of safety Earl Thomas and took the ball away from 6-foot-3 cornerback Richard Sherman.
Cutler completed 17 of 26 passes for 233 yards and 2 touchdowns without an interception. He was sacked just once for the second straight week, as the reconfigured offensive line protected well. But Cutler also helped by scrambling four times for 27 yards and nimbly avoiding pressure on other occasions.
His numbers could have been even better. Earl Bennett got flipped at the goal line and landed on his head on the 12-yard TD grab that opened the scoring. But later he was unable to hold a long pass early in the second quarter that could have been a 62-yard TD, considering he had two steps on the defender.
Cutler’s throw forced Bennett, who was looking over his right shoulder, to adjust and look over his left shoulder, but he got his hands on the ball. Bennett left a short while later with a concussion and did not return.
“It happens,” Cutler said of the drop. “I spun him around a little bit, and it was a tough catch. He’s going to say he should have had it. I don’t know if he was feeling the effects of that hit. But I won’t shy away from him. I’ll keep coming back to him.”
Bennett’s departure left the Bears nearly depleted at wide receiver. Alshon Jeffery (knee) and Devin Hester (concussion) did not dress Sunday and may not be back this Sunday against the Vikings in Minnesota.
Those guys didn’t do much against the Seahawks. Other than Marshall, Bears wide receivers caught just 2 passes for 30 yards.
“Some guys are getting knocked out,” Cutler said. “We just have to roll with the guys we’ve got.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.