Midway Jay, to Earl The Pearl: The Vandy Connection

Sunday afternoon, Jay Cutler played what was probably his best game so far as a Bear. And he did it against a Philadelphia Eagles team riding a three game win streak. He came out from the very start, slinging the ball around like it was nobody's business. Two of his four touchdown passes went to his old college buddy, Earl Bennett.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

This Connection goes back to the first year of Earl Bennett's record setting collegiate career, were he became the all time SEC leader in receptions. Earl Bennett played with Cutler just one season at Vanderbilt, but it was enough for him to entice QB Jay Cutler to go down to Nashville for his Pro Day. The first text Earl Bennett got when Cutler was traded to the Bears was from his old teammate and college QB. Sunday against the Eagles, Bennett hauled in two touchdowns for the first time in his relatively short career. Since Cutler's arrival to Chicago, he's always seemed to have a lot of faith in Bennett to go up and make a tough catch. That proved to be true against the Eagles.

Earl Bennett runs terrific routes and has very consistent hands. He's got the toughness and willingness to go over the middle and make the tough catch. Not to mention he blocks great on offense, as well as special teams. Multiple times this season, Bennett has broken tackles and gained significant yards after the catch. The same was true Sunday night. For someone who's not very big, he is tough to bring down and he is most likely the Bears' most complete receiver. While Earl is no burner, he gets open because of his route running ability. Since Bennett returned from off-season surgery, and the injury he sustained in training camp, he has slowly gotten onto the field more and more. After his big game Sunday, expect to see Earl Bennett's role to expand in this stretch run.

The final stat line for Bennett vs. the Eagles was 4 catches, 56 yards and 2 TDs.

Follow my Twitter (@Nerrad127) for all things Bears and Chicago sports.


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  • Great stuff Darren. You know you and I are on the same page about Bennett. I was shocked at all the offseason Rashied Davis love this year. Back in August, I wrote a peice on BearsTwit about how Bennett needs to be the number 2 behind Knox, as the Bears had him listed behind Davis:

    "Earl Bennett is clearly the more "complete" receiver of the two. He has better hands and runs more solid routes than Davis. I watched Rashied run drills first hand this training camp and he has not looked good thus far. He's not finishing all of his routes and dropped 3 passes on day 1 alone. Bennett has not exactly been a break-out star this camp but I for one would like to see the Bears 3rd rounder pick up where he left off last season and line up in the number 2 slot behind Knox."

    As it stands now, I'd like to see Bennett line up opposite Knox and bring in both Devins situationally (Hester more so than Aromashodu).

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