No one really didn’t understand how valuable of a player Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was until he was injured for the final six games of the 2011 regular season. The Bears were riding a five-game winning streak, and once Cutler was sidelined, Chicago only won one out of six games.
This season, Cutler suffered a concussion in the first half of the Week 10 match-up against the Houston Texans. Needless to say, the Bears loss the game versus Houston, and the following match-up against the San Francisco 49ers.
This week Cutler returned under center, and everything seemed to be in place for Chicago’s offense in their 28-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. The seven-year quarterback’s statistics didn’t jump out at you (23 for 31, 188 yards, one touchdown, one interception), but his mere presence in the Bears’ offense made a significant difference.
The Bears’ offense was in disarray during the six quarters of football without Cutler this season. Yes, the problems with the offensive line didn’t give backup quarterback Jason Campbell a chance to play his best, but Cutler played behind the same offensive line the first eight games of the season and managed to engineer seven victories before his concussion.
Cutler’s average numbers may not holler “most valuable player,” but his performance when it matters most speaks volumes. Cutler has put up the best numbers for a quarterback in the fourth quarter this season.
One can argue that Bears defensive players like Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers, or even Charles Tillman could be the team’s MVP. However, I think that if one of these players were to miss significant time, the defense would still be one of the best in the league, and would be able to carry the team if need be.
This team without Cutler not only sets the offense back, but it drastically decreases the Bears’ chances of winning games against any opponent. Cutler is one of the most gifted passers in the league, and can make throws no other quarterback on Chicago’s roster can make. No other quarterback on the Bears’ roster has the pocket presence that Cutler has as well.
Some may think otherwise when I speak of Cutler’s importance to the Bears. If for some reason you don’t think that he’s the MVP of this team, just remember that Chicago has won 63 percent of their regular season games when Cutler plays, and have won only 29 percent of the games he didn’t suit up for.
If you still don’t believe what I’m saying, just wait for the next time Cutler is on the sideline (which I hope never happens) and see how the teams struggles.
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