Gameday notebook: Jay Cutler throws three picks en route to 40-32 loss in Detroit

Gameday notebook: Jay Cutler throws three picks en route to 40-32 loss in Detroit
Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune

Heading into Sunday afternoon’s contest against their division-rival Detroit Lions, Jay Cutler had been a big part of the reason for the Chicago Bears’ perfect 3-0 record. Following it, he found himself a big part of the reason for his team’s first loss on the season.

“I think if I played better, this is a different ball game,” Cutler told the media after the game. “It just boils down to my turnovers.”

Indeed it does. Detroit scored a field goal and touchdown following Cutler’s first two interceptions on the day, respectively. The Lions failed to score on the drive immediately following his third pick, as Major Wright went on to pick off Matt Stafford, but alas, on the Bears’ next drive, Cutler fumbled the ball on a sack and it was returned for a touchdown.

In all, Cutler’s lack of ball security netted the Lions 17 points on the day. “We can’t turn the ball over,” head coach Marc Trestman said. “We know that.”

What is most disturbing about Cutler’s performance were the ways in which the turnovers came. On one play in particular, Cutler was tripped up slightly on his dropback, then proceeded to throw deep into bracket coverage (a defender in front of and behind his receiver), and he did it off his back foot, having to almost hop to complete his motion.

That single series of events is mind-boggling. No quarterback should ever make that throw, and decision making like that was something Cutler seemed to have been noticeably better at through his first three games.

Cutler had also recently been receiving praise for getting rid of the ball quickly, and that tendency also appeared to regress up in Ford Field. But on the other side of the coin, guys have bad games, and for Cutler, this was about as bad as one would hope it gets.

The offensive line actually appeared to play serviceably, despite giving up three sacks — at least one or two of which were on the QB (have to do my review to be sure) — after having only allowed three through three games heading in.

The defense struggled to contain Reggie Bush (139 yards and a TD), but they tightened up in the second half and did not allow a touchdown through the last two quarters.

And on special teams, the Bears allowed another long kick return (57 yards) to set the Lions up at the Bears’ 22-yard line. Adam Podlesh kicked a miserable, line-drive punt, and poor angles to the ball carrier took care of the rest.

All in all, the Chicago Bears had a bad game. But the light at the other end of the metaphorical tunnel is that we’ve already seen them play much better, and we know that they can play better. Having said that, here’s the usual notebook dump:

  • Credit goes to the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs on this one: Last time the Bears scored 32 points and lost was November 5, 1995 in a 37-34 OT loss to the Steelers at Soldier Field.
  • The Bears converted just one of 13 (8%) third downs all day. Holy hell.
  • Trestman played it more conservative with his timeouts this week, which could have really helped his team prior to the half had they not been in full suck mode.
  • Keep an eye on Blake Costanzo — kid is playing some pretty good special teams.
  • Julius Peppers notched a sack, so that’s cool. But honestly, I thought he played a pretty solid game prior to review.
  • Bears started out — on their very first play, I mean — with what looked like a nice gameplan to max-protect and establish the run early in order to then set up the pass. But literally one play later and they tossed it out the window and started chucking the ball everywhere. Could have been a different outcome if they hadn’t. Just sayin’.
  • Chris Conte struggled vs. the run. He’s either struggling in recognition and biting late or not taking straight angles far too often.
  • How about them blocks from Marshall and Jeffery to spring Matt Forte for the TD, huh? If that didn’t make you all warm and fuzzy inside in the moment I don’t know what will. Maybe that picture of the kitten clutching the tree branch with the caption urging him/her to “hang in there” does it for you, I don’t know. Come to think of it, maybe Trestman can post that in the team locker room this week.
  • I published this when the Bears drafted Alshon Jeffery, and through the last couple games he’s had a grab worthy of this gallery. This guy is good.
  • Long got beat up by Suh on more than one occasion that I saw, and so while we know he’s still a work in progress, I’m also confident he’s going to own that dirty prick one day.
  • Did I mention the third downs? Damn …

Keep ‘er here for more postgame coverage.

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