Earlier this season, when Jay Cutler was hurt and Brian Hoyer was playing reasonably well, there were many reports that the Chicago Bears had decided to move on from Cutler.
If there was even a little bit of hesitation about that, after Cutler returned and played OK in place of Hoyer in a win against the Minnesota Vikings, that was erased Sunday.
We were reminded exactly why the Bears are reportedly fed up with Cutler.
The Bears’ 36-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a comedy of errors, starting with Cutler. Cutler’s pick-six (where have we seen that before?) in the first quarter set the tone. The Bears didn’t do a great job protecting Cutler, especially after guard Kyle Long left on a cart with an ankle injury, but Cutler was terrible.
When the Bears got the ball back with 2:36 left trailing 36-10, Cutler was 10-of-23 for 126 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, against a porous Buccaneers defense. Think that’s bad? Consider that 50 of the yards and the touchdown came on a Hail Mary to Cameron Meredith at the end of the first half. That was Cutler’s only completion longer than 16 yards. Cutler added a few meaningless yards and completions at the end in garbage time, but that doesn’t make his performance any better.
It was ugly. There was the 20-yard interception return for a touchdown by Chris Conte in the first quarter, the type of play we’ve seen from Cutler often where a defensive back jumps all over the route.
He lost a fumble in the second quarter, at the Buccaneers’ 4-yard line, when he was unaware Bucs end Noah Spence was about to sack him.
Then he got sacked in his own end zone and awkwardly tried pushing the ball out to anyone as it was slipping away from him. It went out of the end zone for a safety.
This is why the Bears seem ready to forget the Cutler era after eight frustrating years. The Bears can move on from him in 2017 without major salary cap ramifications.
If there was any little hope, after the Vikings game, that Cutler could resurrect himself for one final run in Chicago, that’s probably done now.
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