In many ways Tony Romo and Jay Cutler are two quarterbacks that seem like they are living the same professional narrative: Both are considered “good” quarterbacks that are on the outside looking in when it comes to that elite success.
Romo is 1-3 when it comes to the playoffs; his only postseason win came against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009. It also happened to be the first playoff win for the Dallas Cowboys in 13 years. The Chicago Bears got to the NFC Championship game in 2011, but Jay Cutler sat out most of the second half with a knee injury.
Both quarterbacks have met immense criticism for poor decisions when it matters most in the game. So far this season Cutler has thrown for three touchdowns and six interceptions (which leads the league). Playing against the Green Bay Packers, Cutler mustered a 4.7 QBR. Romo has thrown for four touchdowns and three interceptions, and fumbled twice.
It might be a toss-up to wonder just which quarterback will be “worse” for Monday night’s game. Both are having offensive line woes and have taken a number of sacks. The terrible game Cutler had against the Packers was essentially mirrored by Romo when the Cowboys faced the Seattle Seahawks. In his last two games, Romo has thrown an interception on the Cowboys' opening drive.
Entering into the game today both teams are 2-1, records that reflect a stronger defense than offense. However, when it comes to predicting which quarterback will “turn it around” or start the charge for their team to make the playoffs, the advantage has to go to Romo.
When it comes to the fundamentals, Romo is clearly better than Cutler. Not only does he have a better passer rating and completion percentage than Cutler, but he also averages more yards per attempt. Romo’s ability to scramble out of the pocket, not exactly a measurement easily taken, is also far superior to Cutler’s.
Last week’s win against Tampa Bay was very much due to the defense, a fact Romo acknowledged postgame. Where Cutler differs from Romo the most is his prickly attitude towards the team. In that loss to Green Bay Cutler was visible on the sidelines chastising his left tackle. And as a signal-caller, Cutler has the tendency to make drastically poor decisions (perhaps even worse than Romo).
However, the Cowboys are coming off two games where their offense has generated fewer than 300 yards—the first time with Romo as quarterback. A major setback Sunday night for Romo was that much-discussed offensive line. Chicago has already recorded 14 sacks on the season.
Romo and Cutler are at the point in their careers where, with each passing season with no or little postseason success, the criticism will reverberate even louder. But for tonight’s game, expect Romo—and his better attitude, if not consistency—to take this one.