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updated: 11/10/2013 10:25 PM

Bears should have seen McCown gave team best chance to win

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  • Jay Cutler stands on the sidelines and watches his teammates come off the field after Matt Forte's failed 2-point conversion attempt dashed the Bears' hopes for a comeback against Detroit on Sunday at Soldier Field.

      Jay Cutler stands on the sidelines and watches his teammates come off the field after Matt Forte's failed 2-point conversion attempt dashed the Bears' hopes for a comeback against Detroit on Sunday at Soldier Field.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley (98) celebrates after making a tackle against Chicago Bears during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Chicago. The Lions won 21-19.

      Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley (98) celebrates after making a tackle against Chicago Bears during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Chicago. The Lions won 21-19.
    Associated Press

  • Bears quarterback Jay Cutler walks on the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Chicago. The Lions won 21-19.

      Bears quarterback Jay Cutler walks on the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Chicago. The Lions won 21-19.
    Associated Press

 
 

You know about no guts, no glory. In Jay Cutler's case Sunday it was more like considerable guts, no glory.

You also know about no pain, no gain. In Cutler's case again it was considerable pain, no gain.

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Finally there's the one about the bigger you are the harder you fall. In Bears' head coach Marc Trestman's case it was the smarter you are the dumber you fall.

OK, that's harsh. Trestman is as intelligent as football coaches get. But even the smartest people associated with this crazy game fall victim to their own Neanderthal genes.

That seemed to be what happened to the Bears during the Lions' 21-19 victory in Soldier Field.

Trestman, a quarterback guru, couldn't resist playing Cutler, keep playing him, and keep playing him some more.

Cutler was coming back at least a week earlier than expected from a pulled groin muscle and then hurt his ankle in the first quarter. From the game's second series on he moved around with all the youthful dexterity of those four old guys in "Last Vegas."

Cutler endured all that pain and demonstrated all those guts but reaped neither gain nor glory.

"He kept getting up," Detroit defensive tackle Nick Fairley marveled.

Cutler kept limping around, too. At one point he fell to his knees and stayed down a few seconds as if to pray for a 10-count. At another point he took time to rub his aching groin.

"It's all the same leg," Cutler said of the groin being connected to the ankle.

The Lions might have targeted Cutler's vulnerable body parts. It was difficult to tell because their defensive line plays that way most of the time.

The Lions banged Cutler around and fell on top of him. He fell over them trying to get up and looked like eventually his offensive line would have to pick him up and carry him into the next huddle.

This was one tough quarterback trying to play on one healthy leg.

The question is why Trestman allowed him to for as long as he did.

As I wrote last week, I would have started backup Josh McCown even if Cutler were 100 percent healthy. It just looks to me like the offense runs more efficiently when the backup is calling signals, making reads and delivering the ball.

That's how it seemed again against the Lions after McCown finally replaced Cutler for the Bears' final possession starting with 2:17 remaining.

McCown led the Bears to as many touchdowns -- 1 -- as Cutler had during the game's first 57:43. Only a failed 2-point conversion kept him from forcing overtime.

To a man the Bears were happy that Cutler played and that Trestman let him keep playing until he couldn't any longer. Bears' center Roberto Garza said, "(Cutler) did a great job of staying in the game and competing and making some big plays and giving us a chance to win."

Ah, but would McCown have given the Bears a better chance to win? My story for nearly a month now has been yes he would have and I'm sticking to it.

I'm never the smartest guy in the room so take this opinion for what little it might be worth: McCown might not have gotten the Bears into the end zone from the 4-yard line late in the first half, but he wouldn't have thrown the interception that Cutler threw either.

Cutler showed a lot of guts playing in a lot of pain but Trestman should have been wiser than to let him do so for so long if at all.

A smart guy made a dumb decision that contributed to the Bears falling hard to the Lions.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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