Remember the Jay Cutler whose toughness everyone (including several NFL players) questioned when he missed the second half of the 2010 NFC championship game with a knee injury? Well, that same Chicago Bears quarterback managed to play the second half of Monday night's Bears-Lions game despite going hard to the Soldier Field turf on one of the nastier sacks you'll ever see.
The play happened with 5:12 left in the first half, and the Bears with the ball at their own 26-yard line. Lions defensive Ndamukong Suh beat the daylights out of right guard Lance Louis, pursued Cutler to the right sideline with frightening speed, took Cutler by his left shoulder, and slammed the quaterback down on his right shoulder.
There was nothing illegal about the hit, though we'd bet the league will find a way to fine Suh because ... well, just because they feel like it.
"I thought I was gone," Cutler said after the game. "But when he got a hold of me, I knew it wasn't going to end well."
Cutler was on the ground for a while in obvious pain, but he was able to walk off the field without help.
"I feel all right right now," he said. "I think later in the week is going to be a little bit difficult, but I'm all right right now."
Cutler stayed out one play while backup Jason Campbell replaced him, and then came back into the game to appreciative applause from a home crowd that has not always appreciated his demeanor. He headed to the locker room to get his ribs checked out, but returned for the second half.
We also suspect that those NFL guys eager to pop off about Cutler's injury back then will be a lot quieter this time. In the end, Cutler was no worse for wear -- he finished the game with 16 of 31 for 150 yards and a touchdown, he rallied to make a couple of nice throws late in the game, and the Bears beat the Lions, 13-7.
One other interesting note -- with all the PR reform Cutler would seem to need in some areas, it appears that he simply doesn't care about such things. It was made public on Twitter by the Bears' sideline reporter that Cutler had given his own game tickets to the family of William "Christopher" Pettry, the 42-year-old Bears fan who was stabbed to death in a Jacksonville bar just hours before the Bears beat the Jaguars, 41-3 on Oct. 7.
"We wanted to reach out and bring them to the game," he said after the game. "It's a tough situation. There's nothing I or anyone can say that can really ease their pain or bring anybody back. Hopefully we were able to let them have an enjoyable time for three or four hours."
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