There's no way that anyone but Jake Delhomme(notes) could have the worst Week One performance of any quarterback with his five-turnover nightmare against the Eagles, right?
Not if Jay Cutler(notes) has anything to say about it.
In the first half of his regular-season debut with the Chicago Bears, Cutler went 8 of 22 for 127 yards and three interceptions. He was also sacked once by linebacker Brandon Chillar(notes) (who jumped OVER reserve running back Garrett Wolfe(notes) to get to the quarterback). Cutler was constantly pressured by the new Green Bay 3-4 defense, run by Dom Capers. Still, Chicago's only down 10-2 at the half, because the Bears' defense is making Aaron Rodgers'(notes) evening almost as bad. Rodgers is 11 of 19 for 91 yards and no touchdowns, No picks, but he's been sacked three times behind Green Bay's iffy offensive line.
That the Chicago defense can harass enemy quarterbacks is no surprise, but the Green Bay defense is a revelation … unless you watched them in the preseason. In their four exhibition games, Green Bay led the NFL in forced fumbles with eight, and finished second behind the Bills with eight interceptions. This Capers defense is a multi-faceted beast, and Cutler had best fix himself before this game gets out of hand.
We'll be back after the game to detail the carnage.
Note: two things happened to start the second half -- Cutler hit Devin Hester(notes) for a 36-yard touchdown, and someone figured out that Matt Forte(notes) is still on the team. Maybe we have a ballgame after all...
Final: To their credit, the Bears kept it close in the second half, going ahead 15-13 late in the game. Cutler began to play better, and there's no doubt he wasn't helped at all by miscommunication with his new receivers. But on Green Bay's final drive of the night, Aaron Rodgers led the Bears' front seven, and a safety cheating up on the box, the wrong way on a Greg Jennings(notes) go route with 1:18 left in the game. Nathan Vasher(notes), covering Jennings solo downfield, couldn’t keep up, and Jennings took the ball in for a 50-yard touchdown. Rodgers sold a fake to Ryan Grant(notes) perfectly, and that was your ballgame. The two-point conversion made the final score 21-13. The Jennings play was an atypical call on third-and-1, and it worked to perfection. Cutler threw his fourth pick of the night to Al Harris(notes) with 1:06 left, and Bears fans could be forgiven for thinking, "If we wanted this many brain cramps on offense, we could have kept Kyle Orton(notes)!"
Just a stomach punch of a loss for Chicago, while the Packers are on their way to meeting all the great expectations laid before them.
Photo: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
- Green Bay