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Six on 6 Week 9: Jay Cutler vs. the San Diego Chargers Analysis & More

In which Cutler has the most Cutleriest game Cutler could maybe have. And won.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Hey, they won.

We missed a week last week. It was the Vikings game, things happened. But how about this game?

This game is like, Cutler in a nutshell.  As I put it on twitter yesterday:

Pretty solid numbers, some turnovers, and a game winning drive. Yeah, that seems about right for this guy.  Let's look at some stuff.

Season Stats, continued

Jay Cutler Metrics 2015 Career
Completion Percentage 62.8 61.8
Touchdown % 4.0 4.7
Interception % 2.0 3.3
Sack % 3.9 6.1
Net Yards/Attempt 6.79 6.36
Passer Rating 89.6 85.4

For most of the season, now, I've maintained that these six metrics are a key to illustrating some points.  You better have your wood screws in, because I'm about to blow your doors clean off:

Jay Cutler is kind of having a career year.

Now, that's not in the traditional sense of "he's got a million passing yards!" or "he threw eleventy billion touchdowns."  But look at the categories above:

Completion percentage is higher than his average
Interception percentage is lower than his average
Sack percentage is lower
Net yards/attempt are higher (despite all these screens!)
Passer rating is up by 4 points

He's playing smarter football, Monday night's turnovers notwithstanding. (We'll discuss those in a minute.) He gets it, he's comfortable, and he's generally making really good decisions. Right now, there is no reason to believe Jay Cutler won't be the Bears quarterback in 2016. That's sure to upset a lot of people who aren't paying attention to the facts.

The Fumble

I had to pick one of the two negative plays to start with, so we'll go with this one first.

Let's paint a situation: 3rd and 8, from the opponents 15 yard line, the Chargers get an absolute jailbreak. Hell, let's just take a look at it:

The line does virtually nothing. The Chargers send six guys, but Leno really craps the bed. Cutler sets his feet, sees the linebacker coming, and Ingram knocks the ball out of his hand. Same ole, Jay, holding the ball out there all loose, just asking to have it stripped away.

Or not.  Let's look up close:


Jay senses the pressure, pulls the ball back down, puts a second hand on it, and begins drawing it to his chest. Ingram gets the perfect swat down on the top of the ball to knock it down to his hand.

This wasn't a situation where he's running around with it at his waist, trying to make something happen and being careless - he tries to protect the ball, but the combination of bad blocking and good defense makes it tough.  He does everything you'd want him to try and do.   Ultimately, he literally dropped the ball, so he doesn't get a pass, but I'm not going to go after him for this one.

The Interception

Eesh, this on the other hand. This is no bueno.

2nd & 7 at the Chargers 38, down by 7 points.  Cutler drops back, knowing that he only intends to go to Jeffery on the play.  Take a look at the original broadcast angle:


You can see Cutler drops back and immediately plans to go to Jeffery on the outside. Jeffery breaks inside, the ball is behind him.

Here's the view from behind Cutler, to better see the angle:


It's hard to know exactly what happened here, but it looks like there was simply miscommunication between Cutler and Jeffery - the way Jay deliberately throws the ball that way, it looks like he expected AJ to turn around, sit hard, and catch it on the back shoulder, keeping the cornerback moving back and unable to make a play. When Jeffery goes inside, Cutler's already releasing the ball. Since Verrett had basically set up shop hanging from Jeffery's towel, he saw it and immediately made the play. Good job on him, bad job on Jay.

But the thing that stings the most, sometimes, and what I'm sure Jay saw on tape, was this:


This is a case where he wanted a matchup and he was going to take it - to be fair, if Jeffery had broken that the other way, he probably has a good gain. But 2nd & 7 in your opponents territory, the last thing you want is the pick 6. Even stopped at his location, Wilson sets you up for 3rd-3 or so.

Jay Cutler - History Maker

In case you weren't paying attention, Jay Cutler now holds the Bears touchdown pass record, viciously stolen from Sid Luckman, who last threw a TD in 1950. For some context on that, go read this article by our own Josh Sunderbruch.

And a list of who all he's thrown TDs to as a Chicago Bear:

# TD Passes Player(s)
26 Brandon Marshall
17 Alshon Jeffery
13 Greg Olsen
12 Martellus Bennett
11 Earl Bennett, Johnny Knox
10 Matt Forte
9 Kellen Davis, Devin Hester
4 Devin Aromashodu
3 Dane Sanzenbacher, Matt Spaeth
2 Desmond Clark, Marquess Wilson
1 Joshua Bellamy, Rashied Davis, Brandon Manumaleuna, Zach Miller, Josh Morgan, Eddie Royal, Roy Williams

3 TDs to Dane Sanzenbacher should get you some kind of extra award.

4th Quarter Clutchbacks

Cutler also went ahead and notched his 3rd fourth quarter comeback of the season against the Chargers. This was the 17th one he's had with the Bears, and the 24th in his career.  He's doing something right there, but check this BS out.

On Monday night, shortly after the game, SportsCenter duly noted that Cutler had his 12th game-winning 4th quarter TD, most in the NFL since 2009:

But then, Tuesday morning, for some reason they decided to stretch it back to 2007, and go with this tweet:

So why the change? 2007 is the first season he had any, so I guess it makes sense, but did it hurt too much to give him credit as an NFL leader for 24 hours?

The Gamewinner

Here's me just looking for a reason to watch that gamewinning catch again:

Cutler threw that ball about as hard as he can throw a ball. I'm honestly sort of surprised that Miller didn't get injured on the play.


Let's use the comments to talk about what you liked and disliked about Jay's game. I liked that he completed a 2/3rds majority of his passes.