Chicago Bears' Hoyer playing like he wants to keep job
Let the quarterback controversy begin.
Chicago Bears backup Brian Hoyer has a higher passer rating in all three of his appearances this year than Jay Cutler has in either of his two, and Hoyer's performance Sunday in the 17-14 victory over the Detroit Lions was by far his best yet.
Hoyer completed 77.8 percent of his passes (28 of 36) for 302 yards, 2 touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 120.1 passer rating.
"We'll cross that bridge when we get to it," coach John Fox said when asked the obligatory query about who starts when Cutler has recovered from his sprained thumb. "I'd like to enjoy this win at least for a few hours."
Cutler could be ready to play as soon as Sunday's upcoming game against the Colts in Indianapolis. But there's no reason to rush him back if Hoyer continues to play as he has so far (103.3 passer rating).
"He played great," said wide receiver Eddie Royal, who had game highs of 7 receptions and 111 yards, averaging 15.9 yards per catch. "Being accurate with the ball, getting it out on time and doing all the little things -- converting on third down."
Hoyer has been sacked just three times, while Cutler was sacked eight times on half as many passing attempts.
"He's leading in the huddle," said tight end Zach Miller, who caught his third TD pass from Hoyer in two weeks. "He's taking care of the football."
Hoyer, an eight-year veteran, raised his record 16-12 as an NFL starter.
"He's a pro," Fox said. "He works hard at it. He studies. He's been there before."
But will he be there in the starting lineup next week?
"My role is to do whatever is asked of me," Hoyer said after the game. "Today I'm going to enjoy the victory. Whatever they say to me (Monday), then that's what I'm prepared to do. That's being a professional about it."
The total package:
Eddie Royal's 4-yard touchdown reception midway through the first quarter gave the Bears a 7-0 lead, and his start 64-yard reception set up the second touchdown late in the third quarter.
"From Day One, when I got here at OTAs (organized team activities), I've always had a lot of respect for Eddie Royal," quarterback Brian Hoyer said. "As a receiver, he can do it all. He can be a slot, he can be outside, and he's a good route runner. I've always been impressed with him as being a total receiver."
The nine-year veteran is second on the Bears with 18 receptions, 241 yards, a 13.4-yard average and 2 receiving touchdowns.
"We got the perfect look we wanted (two high safeties)," Royal said of his 64-yard reception, the longest of the season for the Bears. "(Brian) made a great throw. Next time I'll try not to get caught (at the Lions' 12-yard line)."
On a third-and-11 from the Bears' 24, Royal caught the pass on a crossing route in the middle of the field and angled toward the west sideline before getting tracked down.
"You have to give (offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains) a lot of credit for calling that play in that situation," Royal said. "It was the perfect call."
Wide receiver Kevin White, who caught 6 passes for 55 yards, suffered an ankle injury that appeared to be significant midway through the third quarter, and he did not return.
Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (calf) and cornerback Tracy Porter (knee) were injured early in the third quarter and did not return, although coach John Fox said both could have played if needed.
Sitting it out:
Quarterback Jay Cutler (thumb), running backs Jeremy Langford (ankle) and Ka'Deem Carey (hamstring), nose tackle Eddie Goldman (ankle), linebacker Danny Trevathan (thumb), safety Deon Bush and offensive lineman Eric Kush were inactive.
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