I have to admit that as a Broncos fan, this weekend made me happy enough to think for a second that we'd already made the playoffs. Cutler throws four interceptions and Brandon Stokley scores the winning touchdown with 11 seconds on the clock.
Watching the Bears fans understand exactly why the Broncos have missed the post season for the last few seasons was wonderful as well. I won't dispute Cutler's talent but I don't think I've ever seen a quarterback who can make mistakes quite like Jay.
Bears fans have been calling all offseason that every time a Broncos fan points out the fact that Cutler's throws seem to be magnetized to opposition defence's hands we were called jealous and bitter about losing him. The Broncos picked up Kyle Orton and multiple draft picks in exchange for THAT?
His post game press conference seemed to shock everyone but Bronco fans who realize that is just Jay being Jay. Something that Bears fans conveniently overlooked whenever they would get excited about this Pro Bowl quarterback joining their team. Conveniently forgetting that Cutler was voted in before his collapse at the end of the season.
The Bears will lose next week against the Steelers and without Urlacher all I can see for them is a record somewhere around 6-10 come the end of the season.
Now, the Broncos didn't have a great game offensively but looking at that defence compared to what I was put through last season was a sight to see. The Broncos certainly played exciting football last year with a strong offence and an awful defence, but exciting football still lost us the division on the last day.
Losing Cutler is not a good thing for the Broncos, he was out franchise quarterback and with education and a coach who was willing to put him on a very short leash he is effective, but the trade off between last season and this season has me placing this squad as much stronger. Sure we beat the Bengals on a fluke, but the Broncos still stopped one of the most explosive offences in the AFC from scoring more than once.
The offence needs some tweaking, there's no doubt there but Orton looked better than I expected and with this whole Brandon Marshall business hopefully behind us he'll start to produce again in the way we know he can. At his best he's easily a top 5 receiver in the league, his speed and size make him so tough to mark and with Eddie Royal as another option for Orton I think this team will be just fine as long as they're able to get more yards on the run.
It's going to be down to the Chargers and the Broncos for the division again this year it appears and I don't think it's as open and closed as people think. Even though i do look at the Broncos through rose coloured glasses I can see them putting up a good fight for the AFC West this year and if I had to stick my neck out and pick a team to win it, after seeing the Chargers defence against Oakland I'd pick Denver.
Next week Denver plays the Browns, a team that historically should be no problem for the Broncos. If the Broncos win that match then they are on the right track to make a run at the post season. I won't delude myself to consider us at the same level as teams like the Vikings, Eagles, Patriots or Steelers but in a weak AFC West the Broncos should make the playoffs.
And hopefully Cutler throws another four picks next game so I can once again proudly wear my refurbished Cutler jersey with an "N" strategically placed in.