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Six on 6 Week 4: Jay Cutler vs. the Oakland Raiders & More

Oh thank heavens, an actual quarterback played for the Bears this week.

Yeah, I'ma throw it DOWN the field.
Yeah, I'ma throw it DOWN the field.
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Remember that time some people said Clausen should be starting? That was fun.

Jay Cutler returned to the Bears this week, and most people with eyeballs suddenly understood why that was much better for the Bears than the abomination from the week before.

This week we'll break down a couple plays, still, but I want to take the opportunity to talk about a couple more general Jay Cutlers, including some odd career splits.

The Interception

This is where I have to start because this is what the topic always revolves around. Of course, I can't just have an article where I don't have to talk about it. I'm really at a loss to explain two things. One, how this type of play always seems to happen to him, and also how it seemingly negates an otherwise extremely high quality start by him in the eyes of fans.

Here's the pick, courtesy of a Sports Mockery vine:

I'm not really sure what the caption on that is talking about - If Jay Cutler only had 62 interceptions in his entire career this article probably wouldn't even be needed. This is also the third of the season. But whatever, that doesn't change the video.

So on this pick a lot of bad happened. But I get the idea. 3rd and 1 in your opponent's territory and your apparently stud TE is running free down field, matched one on one with the safety. You're being rushed, seems like a safe bet.

Here's the rub: Bennett's free release means that Khalil Mack becomes the responsibility of Matt Forte. Forte fails in spectacular fashion. Mack is in Cutler's face, forcing him to throw before being planted.  The throw goes behind Bennett, and Woodson is able to jump it.  But look at this frame:


Eeeeesh. The ball is in the air at this point, roughly over the line of scrimmage.  If Bennett had kept his route going downfield instead of breaking (assuming the throw isn't behind him) , it could probably go over the top for a TD.  Once Cutler felt Mack in his face, he clearly had made his mind that he was going to Bennett.

But if Forte had blocked Mack, and Cutler had one more chance to look left, he'd have seen Royal running free on the left side.

Ultimately, the pick didn't matter, because they won. Ultimately, it falls on Jay, because it was a garbagey throw, and a good play by Woodson. But faced with getting hit by Mack, I'd probably throw up a duck, too.

Kev's rating: Aw, c'mon Jay. Seriously?

The Fumble

I can be saddened by this, but I can't be too upset. You're in a game where your center has gone down and you've moved your left guard over. You're going to have problems in the exchange. It gets credited to Slauson, but I'm putting it on both of them. Sometimes these things happen, though. This isn't as egregious as, say, Jay running all over the field carrying the ball in one hand at his waist.

Touchdown Passes

Honestly, while I was happy to see them, and happy to see more of them than interceptions, neither of the TD passes were all that spectacular. The first to Royal was a simple toss and run.

If anything, I'd probably get on his case about the second one. He telegraphed the entire time where he intended to go with the ball, yet the Raiders inexplicably let Martellus Bennett run to the back of the endzone unguarded.

Limited Mobility

This game featured some of the best pocket work I've seen out of Cutler in a long time. It's almost as if being cognizant of his leg injury made him think more.   Hmmmm.

There were, however, times that you would've liked to have seen him be able to run. However, without a doubt, Cutler proved that a limited Jay is better than a fully healthy Jimmy Clausen.

Final Drive

So let's talk about that final drive. It was quite the thing, wasn't it? Let's  paint a picture.

Down by 1, 2:05, ball on your own 20.

After a run by Forte to get to the 2 minute warning, it becomes all Cutler's arm. Well, and almost his legs.

After the two minute break is one of those times that Cutler's (lack of) mobility really shows. Watch the gif:

Normal Cutler would take that ball and run like hell towards the sidelines, and is athletic enough to probably make it, get the first, and stop the clock. Here, though, he thinks he can maybe cut back in and buy himself a second, gets tangled up, and Mack comes back and gets in on the sack.

After that, sack, Cutler goes 5/8 (62.5%) for 41 yards, with a series of sideline passes controlling the clock. It's exactly the kind of thing you want to see out of your quarterback. He then leads on and adds his 17th 4th quarter comeback when Gould makes the field goal.

THIS is what people who like Cutler are talking about. He's showing the comfort he has in the Gase offense, despite missing his top WR, his shiny new rookie WR, and working with a patchwork o-line. He's got the ability to do it. Once again, a turnover almost kills it though.

I'll still take it over Clausen. All day. Every day.

Interesting Splits

I was rolling through Pro Football Reference, particularly, looking at Jay Cutler's splits page. Here are some that stand out in particular that I thought were really interesting.

Cutler's passer rating in situations where the team is 1st down & >10 to go is 110.9. This could be why the line is false starting and holding so much.

Touchdowns from yards to go range
To go TD
1-3 46
4-6 36
7-9 36
10+ 66

66 touchdowns from more than 10 yards to go, which is almost the same as 4-9 yards. Perhaps there's a little Grossman in there, too?

Cutler has only played 5 games in a retractable roof. He has posted a 66.44% completion rating, a 9:1 TD:INT ratio, and a passer rating of 108.7 in 4 wins.

The question is -- can the Bears start playing all their games in Indianapolis?