Jay Cutler isn't a popular figure in the Chicago-land area. When the Chicago Bears are doing badly, the finger often gets pointed right at Cutler, as is customary for many NFL quarterbacks. But Cutler doesn't receive criticism just for his poor play.
The Bears QB is often targeted for not having the mental toughness to handle the starting QB gig. It's something Bears fans have dealt with since the team acquired Cutler from the Denver Broncos.
Cutler came under intense scrutiny for sitting out the rest of an NFC title game against the rival Green Bay Packers with what was initially believed to be a minor injury. He came under criticism again this year when he was caught shoving an offensive lineman after yelling in his face.
The game against the Carolina Panthers was another opportunity for Cutler to revert to his old ways. The QB earned some measure of respect for coming back into a game after getting judo tossed by Ndamukong Suh last Monday and seemed to be well on his way to another injury on Sunday.
The Bears O-line was absolutely awful in the first half against the Panthers. Cutler was sacked numerous times and hurried in the pocket even more. The Bears gave up six sacks to what had been a porous defense prior to this week and missing some of their key starters.
It was a time when fans (including this guy) were expecting another Cutler meltdown. He had every reason to be mad at his offensive line. There were a few times when the linemen were simply beat on effort, something the entire Bears team lacked in the first 30 minutes.
But Cutler stayed calm throughout all the hits to rally his team in the second half. The offensive line rallied as well, not allowing any sacks in the second half. Some credit should be given to offensive coordinator Mike Tice as well for calling more max protect plays to give Cutler extra time.
Cutler will always be a polarizing figure to Bears fans given his demeanor and rocky performances at times. But if he continues to show this kind of toughness and coolness under pressure, there's no doubt he can win back some fans and teammates that he may have lost recently.