Cutler sharp at Bears 17-3 victory over Giants

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Jay Cutler passes under pressure from New York Giants defensive tackle Barry Cofield during the first quarter.

    Jay Cutler passes under pressure from New York Giants defensive tackle Barry Cofield during the first quarter. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 8/22/2009 11:57 PM

So this is what a Pro Bowl quarterback looks like.

Based on his performance Saturday night against the Giants at Soldier Field, quarterback Jay Cutler is worth everything the Bears gave up to get him and more. It was only a second preseason game, but he electrified the crowd by completing 8 of 13 passes for 121 yards, 1 touchdown and a passer rating of 117.8 in a 17-3 victory.

 

Cutler may have been the only one who wasn't excited by his performance, mentioning that the offense is still a work in progress.

"Aww, it's preseason," he said. "Everyone got a little excited last week when we didn't produce, and we looked OK tonight. There's still room for improvement, so we're going to keep our feet on the ground and go back to work."

Cutler got to work almost immediately Saturday night. On the third play of the game he showed why the Bears traded last year's starting quarterback and three high draft choices to get him, as he zipped a laser through a tiny window to a double-covered Earl Bennett for 26 yards.

The Bears settled for a 44-yard Robbie Gould field goal after tight end Greg Olsen dropped a perfect throw on a short route and Cutler fired to Devin Hester's outside as the wide receiver mistakenly turned inside.

On the next possession Cutler again demonstrated there are things he can do that not many others can. Sprinting out to the right, he drilled a pass to a well-covered Bennett, putting it low, where only the receiver could catch it, for a 15-yard gain.

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After Cutler hit Olsen for 17 yards, Matt Forte bolted untouched 32 yards for a TD and a 10-0 lead with 4:16 left in the first quarter. Cutler audibled out of a pass play to the run by Forte, whose way was cleared by blocks from center Olin Kreutz, left guard Frank Omiyale and left tackle Orlando Pace.

At the start of the second quarter, Cutler and the first-team offense made it three straight scoring drives, when they went 92 yards to a 17-0 lead. On that third drive alone, Cutler did just about everything a quarterback could be asked to do.

Rolling out right, he launched a bomb from his own goal line, 60 yards in the air intended for Hester, who was wide open. But the pass just barely eluded the grasp of Hester, who seemed to have trouble adjusting to it.

"Me and Devin are still getting on the same page," Cutler said. "We had a shot there; I overthrew it a little bit. It's going to happen, we're going to miss throws out there, we're going to have some miscommunication at times. Sometimes we're not going to execute, we just have to forget it and move on to the next play."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Five plays later, on a third-and-6, Cutler couldn't find an open receiver, so he sprinted up the middle for 12 yards and a first down.

"Of course everyone knows about Jay's arm," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "He had some great throws tonight to our receivers, but being able to keep the drives going (with his mobility) - he's an athlete. We're banking on him being able to make plays like that. It was good to see him take another step."

On the next snap, Cutler dropped another bomb onto the outstretched fingertips of Devin Aromashodu for 38 yards, down to the Giants' 2. Then, after faking a handoff to Forte (58 yards on 9 carries), Cutler lofted a TD pass to tight end Desmond Clark near the back of the end zone for a 17-0 lead with 10:17 left in the first half, ending the work day for the first team offense.

"We moved the ball well," Cutler said. "The offensive line did a great job all night."

Next up is next Sunday night's nationally televised game against the Broncos and Cutler's return to Denver, where he left under less-than-ideal circumstances.

What's that going to be like?

"Lot of fun," Cutler said. "Y'all going? It's (just) a preseason game, (but) obviously there's going to be a little bit of drama wrapped around it. We just have to focus, keep moving forward as an offense and keep doing the stuff out there on the field that's going to help us in the future."

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