Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears: Why Jay Cutler Will Break out of Slump on MNF
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He was reunited with his former Denver Broncos teammate Brandon Marshall, had a one-two punch in his backfield in Matt Forte and Michael Bush and the team drafted South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery in the draft to give Cutler another weapon on the outside.
However, things have not played out as predicted for the former Vanderbilt star so far. Cutler threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns in the Bears' Week 1 romping of the Indianapolis Colts, but has not put up those numbers in his last two games combined.
In back-to-back weeks Cutler has thrown for under 200 yards. In addition to the low yardage total, he has also thrown six interceptions this season. Cutler ranks next to last in the NFL in passer rating and is completing eight percent below his career average (60.8) of passes this season.
However, Cutler will get back on track on the prime time stage of Monday Night Football.
Cowboys enter Monday night’s matchup against the Chicago Bears No. 1 in yards allowed at 250 per game and seventh in points allowed. However, their leading tackler Anthony Spencer will not play against the Bears. Spencer is among three starters who are out. Jay Ratliff and Barry Church (who is out for the season with a ruptured Achilles) will also miss the game.
At 6 '0", 210 lbs, Cowboys corner Brandon Carr has the size to be physical with Marshall. Marshall respects the play of Dallas' secondary as well, saying in an interview with ESPN Dallas:
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I know a lot about Brandon Carr and I really respect his game. He does a lot of things at the line of scrimmage, really strong. I've been watching a lot of film on our matchups and I want to approach the game a little differently. (Morris) Claiborne, a rookie corner, respect what he's doing so far. I'm sure there are some things he will clean up out there. I think (Dallas) has a really good No. 1 pick down there.
Marshall's familiarity comes from playing against Carr in the AFC West. This should be paramount in his success Monday.
Cutler will still see a great deal of pressure from DeMarcus Ware, but the missing starters along the Cowboys defense will open up holes in the running game. Subsequently, the play action pass and deep balls to Cutler's physical receivers should open up.
The matchup between Ware and left tackle J'Marcus Webb will be one that decides the game. Webb could not slow down Clay Matthews two weeks ago and Ware is the same caliber of pass rusher. Cutler has been under pressure on 41.5 percent of his dropbacks this season and will have to deliver the ball quickly to have success, something he has not done in recent weeks.
Cutler has the weapons and skill to have a big day at Cowboys Stadium. As long as the pressure does not have Cutler on the turf multiple times Monday night, expect the Bears QB to bounce back from two consecutive down weeks.
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