For once, Cutler wasn't Bears' biggest problem

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler tries to escape the rush of Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh at...

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler tries to escape the rush of Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich., Oct. 10, 2011. (MIKE SEGAR/Reuters)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:07 PM ET

TORONTO - It wasn’t that long ago that the list of what was wrong with the Chicago Bears started with Jay Cutler.

He wasn’t tough enough or he didn’t help himself enough when he was pressured or he flat out wasn’t good enough.

Well, let’s just point out that a game on national television can go a long way to dispelling some of these myths and exposing a few other flaws.

If the Monday Night Football crew didn’t convince you that Cutler was easily the best Chicago Bears player in the game, your own eyes would have told the story.

Cutler was nimbly dancing his way around on-coming pass rushers and throwing off his back foot or throwing on the run all night. And he did all this while completing 28-of-38 passes.

As for his willingness to stand in and take a hit to complete a pass, not even Maurice Jones-Drew was commenting about his toughness on this night.

Cutler was sacked three times and was hit six others but hung in there and took the punishment to make plays.

His offensive line, particularly tackles J’Marcus Webb and Frank Omiyale, did their best impressions of turnstiles as the Lions ran around them time and again forcing Cutler to run for his life.

When they weren’t letting would-be Cutler destroyers through, that pair were two of the worst offenders for the false start penalties that bogged down the Bears offence. Webb alone was whistled for three of the nine false start infractions.

In that context, it was a wonder Cutler was able to move the ball at all, or that he was even upright by game’s end.

The offensive line issues, while offensive, are at least not that much of a surprise and here’s where the Bears real concerns have to lie this morning: The Bears defence was exposed Monday night as a unit that is operating like anything but a unit.

Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, the two veterans and leaders on this team were seen on the bench visibly upset with each other.

Urlacher, after Jahvid Best’s second long run of the night, was jawing at Briggs before they even got off the field.

If there are breakdowns happening with the Bears, it’s not supposed to happen on defence, but it is.

Urlacher went public with his own criticism after the game.

“We’re playing like (poop), that’s what’s going on,” Urlacher snapped to reporters after the game. “We’re not playing good. We’re not disciplined. We’re not into our gaps. We’re not physical. I don’t know how many yards that kid had. He probably didn’t even have 10 carries.”

The kid, of course, was Best and for the record he had 12 carries for 163 yards.

“Defensively, we stink,” Urlacher told reporters. “We stop the run, (then) we can’t stop the pass. We stop the pass, (then) we can’t stop the run. We’re just all over the place.’

And if the defence is all over the place and the offence is barely getting by on the strength of Matt Forte and the savvy of Cutler, how long before this house of cards caves in completely?

As it is they are three full games back of both Detroit and Green Bay. Yes, we’re only through Week 5, but that’s a lot of ground to make up even with 11 weeks left.

QUICK HITS

Coming off just a dreadful performance in a blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Tampa Bay Bucs head into a Week 6 matchup with New Orleans likely without the services of both RB LeGarrette Blount and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy ... Pete Carroll will not have a quarterback controversy on his watch. The Seattle head coach quickly snuffed out any such controversy when he confirmed Tarvaris Jackson will remain his starting quarterback health permitting. Tarvaris left Sunday’s win over the Giants in the third quarter with a strained pectoral muscle ... Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw just three passes longer than 10 yards in Sunday’s win over the visiting Philadelphia Eagles. Helping Buffalo’s chances were the 14 missed tackles by Philly defenders ... NFL owners voted to award the 2015 Super Bowl to Glendale, Ariz., over the chance to return to Tampa.Either way, that Super Bowl is going to be a lot more comfortable than the 2014 championship game which will be played in New York — in February ... In their quest to fill the vacancy left by the broken leg that Josh Morgan suffered, the San Francisco 49ers will bring in T.J. Houshmandzadeh for a tryout. Houshmandzadeh played with Baltimore last season but has not caught on with anyone yet this year.

STAFF SHAKEUP LOOMS IN PHILLY?

So far it’s just talk, but there is a conversation going on within the confines of the Philadelphia Eagles coaching staff, that perhaps it’s time to bring in some additional manpower.

The Eagles are 1-4 and, outside of Andy Reid, the guy feeling most of the pressure right now is offensive line coach turned defensive coordinator Juan Castillo.

Castillo’s Eagles are tied for 27th in the league, giving up an average of 26.4 points a game. This after a personnel overhaul that included the additions of Nnamdi Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

ESPN’s Chris Mortenson first reported the team was thinking about a defensive consultant but pointed out it likely wouldn’t happen until the bye week which begins after Sunday’s game in Washington against the Redskins.


Videos

Photos