Remember at the beginning of the season when everyone said the Chicago Bears' offense would be lethal?
Well, The Bears' offense showed how lethal it was supposed to be in their 36-30 overtime victory of the Minnesota Vikings Monday night.
The Bears compiled 363 total yards of offense (258 passing, 105 rushing) and Cutler was amazing, throwing for 273 yards for four touchdowns and only one interception. Cutler leads the NFL with 23 picks.
Cutler finally showed that he can play well in the Bears' offense, after taking a lot of criticism this season for his poor performance and how he's gone downhill since picking traded from the Denver Broncos in April. In fact, The Chicago Tribune's sports section featured Dan Pompei's article, "What wrong with for the Chicago Bears in 2009?," on Monday morning.
However, the Bears showed little signs of trouble against the Vikings.
"Through all the roller coasters and tough breaks it's good for the team, it's good for the morale to answer the bell, especially in the fourth quarter and overtime," Cutler said to the Chicago Tribune.
Although Cutler looked like his normal self by almost being picked off twice on Chicago’s opening drive, he finally got in a rhythm and got the Bears’ passing game, which has been nonexistent this season. Cutler’s 273 yards is the most yards he’s thrown for since passing for 307 in the Bears’ 10-6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 12.
It’s also the lowest number of interceptions he’s thrown since throwing none against the St. Louis Rams on Dec. 6.
Chicago has had a hard time trying to find a go to receiver since Devin Hester went down with a calf injury and hasn’t played since the Bears’ win over the Rams. Hester has been a key part of the Bears’ offense and was the leading receiver on the team before Monday night, with 54 receptions for 682 yards and three touchdowns.
Earl Bennett passed Hester as the top Bear in receiving yards Monday night. Bennett has 690 yards in 2009 with two TDs.
But the Bears also have found a go-to receiver in their receiving corps. Devin Aromashodu had been very quiet in the passing game all season and really didn’t play before Hester was injured. Aromashodu, a seventh round pick by the Indianapolis Colts out of Auburn in 2007, has worked himself into the starting lineup and had 150 receiving yards with seven catches, averaging 21.4 yards per catch.
Aromashodu had only his second TD catch of the season, but it turned to be a big one, as he caught the game-winning 39-yard touchdown from Cutler in overtime.
“That I can play, that I’m not going to quit, I want to win and I do want to play in the NFL,” Aromashodu told chicagobears.com on what he’s been trying to show the coaches. “I think I deserve a chance.”
Aromashodu now has his chance after his performance Monday night. Cutler and the offense should have no problem against the Detroit Lions Sunday. The Lions are dead last in the league against the pass, giving up 3,981 yards on the season. The Bears beat the Lions 48-24 on Oct. 4 and Cutler only had 141 yards, but threw for two TDs and no picks in that game. The 48 points are the most points Chicago as put on an opponent this season.
But the Bears did lose receiver Johnny Knox, who was injured on a kick return and was carted off the field. Knox is arguably one of the fastest players in the NFL and his status for Sunday’s game against Detroit is unclear.
After the game, embattled Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith sidestepped a question about how the win would affect his future with the team.
"I think the game made a statement about our football team and where we are and what we can be in the future, no more than that," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said to the Associated Press. "As a football coach your job is at stake every day you go to work. ... It's like that with everyone. I realize where I am and where we are. It's been a disappointing season and I'm the head football coach.