Jay Cutler: Does the Chicago Bears QB Deserve a Contract Extension? (Part 1)
The answer to this question will ultimately depend on his body of work on the field.
But rather than attempting to draw a conclusion right now, I've decided to break down Cutler's performances on a quarterly basis to obtain a more accurate assessment as the season progresses.
That being said, let's take a quick look back at how Cutler has played during the first quarter of the 2013 season.
The Bears offensive scheme that garnered a lot of attention during the offseason struggled in the first half against the Cincinnati Bengals.
However, the unit found its rhythm in the late stages of the game as the Bears rallied from an 11-point deficit to record a 24-21 victory in head coach Marc Trestman's debut.
Cutler completed 21 of 33 passes for 242 yards along with two touchdowns and an interception.
Per ESPN, Cutler had this to say about his team's performance:
There were a lot of question marks. How were we going to do on offense? Are the plays going to work? Are we going to be able to block them? Am I going to complete balls? So to go out there, it wasn't pretty, it wasn't perfect, we didn't think it was going to be. We made plays when we had to make plays.
The most notable stat from this game was how well Cutler handled the Bengals pass rush.
Cutler completed 80 percent of his passes for 94 yards and one touchdown when Cincinnati opted to rush five defenders on nearly a third of his dropbacks, per ESPN Stats & Information.
This was a huge improvement from the 50 percent completion percentage he compiled during the 2012 season.
The Bears were in need of another late-game score against the Minnesota Vikings, and once again, Cutler delivered.
Trailing 30-24 late in the fourth quarter, Cutler led the team on a scoring drive that was capped off with a beautiful 16-yard touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett with 10 seconds left in regulation. Cutler completed eight of 10 passes for 76 yards on the game's final drive.
Overall, Cutler completed 28 of 39 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns.
However, he also threw two interceptions and lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown.
When it was all said and done though, Cutler showed the ability to lead his team to victory in spite of the turnovers.
Chicago's offense controlled the game early against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the unit stalled for most of the second half, allowing the Steelers to trim a 21-point lead to just four points.
Showing his resiliency once again, Cutler made some clutch plays with the outcome of the game still in doubt.
Facing a key third down in the fourth quarter, Jay Cutler ran for 12 yards, giving the Bears a much-needed first down.
A few plays later, Cutler connected with Brandon Marshall for 41 yards, helping the road team convert another key third down.
Per Michael C. Wright of ESPN Chicago, Brandon Marshall—who had caught just four passes for 11 yards prior to this reception—had this to say about the play, "Really, it’s all Jay... Jay threw a 50-yard back-shoulder [throw]. I’ve never seen that happen before. The guy’s arm is amazing. Jay put it in the right place."
Three plays later, Cutler completed a 17-yard touchdown pass to Earl Bennett that provided the Bears with a 34-23 lead and, most importantly, some much needed breathing room.
Chicago went on to win the game 40-23, and while Cutler's numbers were not overly impressive (20-of-30 for 159 yards and one touchdown), he did not turn the ball over, and for the third consecutive week, he led his team down the field on a drive that resulted in a touchdown.
Cutler was not at his best against the Detroit Lions in Week 4. In fact, it was his worst performance of the season.
Cutler completed 27 of his 47 pass attempts for 317 yards, but he also threw three interceptions and had a fumble that was returned for a touchdown.
While Cutler's turnovers were not the only factors that contributed to Chicago's 40-32 loss, they were a huge factor because he had thrown a total of just three picks prior to this outing.
So where does that leave us with Cutler right now?
Well, he has had a couple of good games, one decent game and one very bad game.
But, he has led the Bears to a 3-1 start, which is the most important stat, through the first four games of the season.
At this point in time, Cutler has shown that he can be the quarterback the team thought they traded for back in 2009.
However, let's see how he fares in the second quarter of the season before we continue along that road.
See you in a few weeks folks.
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