Da Bears win! Da Bears win! Da CHFF rains on the parade!
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Sep 20, 2009
Jay Cutler's first game in a Bears uniform, a 21-15 loss to the Packers last Sunday, was filled with so many gaffes it could have passed for a Joe Biden stump speech.
"Hey, there's Darryl Stingley. Stand up, Darryl. Stand up. Let 'em see ya. Oh, God love ya. What am I talking about?"
Cutler, famously now, threw a personal-worst four INTs in Chicago's Week 1 defeat. He recovered quite nicely in Week 2, in a tough 17-14 victory over the defending champ Steelers.
In fact, considering the quality of the Pittsburgh defense, it was a huge gut-check win for Cutler and Chicago.
The Bears touched the ball just twice in the fourth quarter but Cutler turned those two possessions into 10 game-winning points. Chicago's first fourth-quarter drive began went 72 yards against the league's best defense from 2008 (the jury is still out on 2009, especially with Troy Polamalu out of the line-up for the time being) and ended with Cutler's 7-yard TD toss to Johnny Knox that forged a 14-14 tie with 6:25 to play.
Pittsburgh's Jeff Reed missed a 43-yard field goal on the next possession. So Cutler promptly completed three straight passes that – aided by Greg Olsen recovery of his own fumble – moved the ball into Pittsburgh territory. Robbie Gould converted the 44 yarder with 20 seconds to play and Cutler and the Bears had their win.
Cutler was masterful in the fourth quarter: 9 of 10 for 92 yards and the score.
But don't shop for Super Bowl tickets or burn the Sid Luckman jersey just yet, Bears fans.
The trend of emerging inefficiency that Cutler's Broncos had in Denver has certainly shown its face here in Chicago. According to our Scoreability Index, our measure of scoring efficiency:
The 2009 Bears have produced a woeful 19.59 Yards Per Point Scored so far this year
The 2008 Bears, meanwhile, were the most efficient scoring team in the league, requiring just 12.62 Yards Per Point Scored.
It's a familiar story: Cutler's 2008 Broncos were a dreadful 28th in the NFL in our Scoreability Index, at 17.12 Yards Per Point Scored. Right now, his Bears are even worse. In other words, Cutler historically cranks out a ton of yards, but with few points to show for it. (By the way, we'll have our new-look Quality Stats, including our updated Scoreability Index, out soon.)
So enjoy the win, Chicago. But if Cutler and the offense don't improve upon their efficiency, there will be more frustration than joy here in 2009.
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