October 25, 2010
No matter what's said during the week, the games are where everything becomes real. And for quite a few individuals, things are becoming far more real in this 2010 NFL season than they would like. This is perhaps most true for Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler(notes), who threw an embarrassing four picks to Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall(notes) in a 17-14 Bears loss, which tied an NFL record by one defensive player in a game. It's an astonishing feat, really -- Hall may be slightly overrated because his on-field sense doesn't generally match up to his athleticism, but he will put together the occasional big day. Hall talked with Kara Henderson of the NFL Network after the game and simply discussed the fact that Washington defenders knew they'd get opportunities with Cutler throwing the ball around. What was surprising under the circumstances was Cutler's response in his postgame presser:
"I've played against [Hall] before -- there's no reason to shy away from him. That's hard to say after throwing four picks at a guy, but if we had to play him tomorrow, I'd go at him every time." That was Cutler's response to the valid question: "Why did you keep throwing Hall's way, when he was picking off everything in his area?" It's true that Hall isn't exactly Brandon Flowers(notes) or Darrelle Revis(notes), but this goes beyond hubris on Cutler's part. Easy enough to give a perfunctory answer about how Hall played a great game, and "the breaks just didn't go our way," blah blah blah ... but this?
The fact that Cutler would go at Hall every time helps explain part of the reason he struggles (and the Bears struggle with him). Like any quarterback with a great arm, he's obstinate to a degree about the things he can do. But the Bears' offense is in freefall with its offensive line issues and overall underperformance, and at a certain point, it makes sense to reel it in and go with a safe game plan until everyone can get their heads together.
The Bears managed 61 rushing yards on just 13 carries from Matt Forte(notes) and Chester Taylor(notes) -- an impressive level of per-carry efficiency -- so why didn't they go more to the rushing attack? Because offensive coordinator Mike Martz is just as obstinate about his own aerial game plan. In a game where your team is never down by more than three points, and your quarterback is imploding, why on earth wouldn't you bring the chaos back down to earth for a while?
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