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Quarterback Jay Cutler Has Proven that This Season Rests on His Shoulders for Chicago

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY| In the midst of watching Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush run rampant over the Chicago Bears defense in Sunday's 40-32 loss, many Bears fans couldn't help but concede the bigger question mark was on the other side of the ball.

Since his arrival to Chicago in 2009 following a trade with the Denver Broncos, Jay Cutler has had many highs and lows with the Bears. He led the league in interceptions (26) in his first year with Chicago in 2009.

In 2010, Cutler led them to the NFC Championship game after cutting down his interceptions to 16 only to leave that game with an injury that led to speculation about his toughness.

Fast forward to 2013 and Cutler got off to a wonderful start in the first three games, leading two fourth-quarter comebacks against the Cincinnati Bengals and Minnesota Vikings. Following a third win against the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road, the expectation was Cutler would march into Detroit and keep pace with Lions QB Matthew Stafford.

But there was Cutler once again in the post game show, answering questions about how his poor decision making had cost Chicago yet another possible victory. While Cutler is largely responsible for bringing them within an onside kick recovery of having a chance to tie the game, his errant throws earlier in the contest are what put them in that position in the first place.

Afterwards, Cutler put the loss on his shoulders, saying: "I feel good about my decision making. I just missed some throws...three picks and a fumble, that's hard to come back from."

Cutler is spot on in that assessment: the opportunities were there, he just failed on his execution. Some might consider bad execution an upgrade from poor decision making, but an interception is the same result any way you slice it up.

With lingering injuries to Charles Tillman, Stephen Paea and the season ending one to Henry Melton, there's no guarantee the defense will continue to perform at the high level Bears fans are accustomed to seeing. Therefore, it's as important as ever Cutler takes accountability for his play and starts putting decision-making together with execution.

As the Bears move forward this season, their schedule doesn't get any easier. Next up is a home game versus the undefeated New Orleans Saints, an offense known for its diverse play-calling and great quarterback play from Drew Brees.

There is no better time for Cutler to put it all together than against New Orleans and a defense that comes into Chicago ranked #7 against the pass and #8 in total defense. The Bears would love to watch Cutler lead them on a deep playoff run (Super Bowl, even) a la Joe Flacco and pay him handsomely for it.

For that to happen, however, missed throws simply can't.

Billy Grayson is a Yahoo contributor from Chicago and diehard Chicago sports follower. He is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

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