Fans are way down on the Chicago Bears this week. At the grocery store, the coffee shop, even the Magnificent Mile, there are angry middle-aged gentlemen pointing fingers at store clerks and telling them how they feel — specifically, about quarterback Jay Cutler. Every one of the poor store clerks (and I’ve witnessed no fewer than five in this situation this week) have all nodded meekly and kept the line moving.
“Cutler, he’s the problem! That fat contract ruined him.” That’s been the watered-down version of what I’ve heard over and over again this week, leading up to their game against the New England Patriots. I attempted to argue with one disgruntled fan. “The Patriots haven’t been that great this year. They got blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs on national television. They almost lost to the New York Jets!” But nobody in Chicago wants to hear it. I asked one man who he’d rather have. “Anyone!” he shouted across the shop. “Literally anyone!”
I’m an impartial observer who lives a few miles from Soldier Field and has watched a lot of Bears since I moved here eight years ago. I can say with confidence it has always been this way. The big contract has not changed anything. I’ve made the conscious decision to draft Cutler in fantasy football at least three times (including this year… as Peyton Manning‘s backup, but still). I’m familiar with his work, and the one thing you can count on with Cutler is that he tends to do the opposite of what you expect him to do. He’s a glitch in the matrix. I love watching him. To me, he’s one of the most entertaining characters in the league. I’m still furious that he and Philip Rivers aren’t in the same division anymore, robbing us of the opportunity to watch them get finger-pointy twice a season.
The point is, it would be exactly like the Cutler-era Bears to play like garbage at home against the Miami Dolphins one week and then put up 400 yards of offense in Foxboro the next. Being the Indianapolis Colts person that I am, nothing would delight me more. I thought about it a long time before deciding to start Peyton on short rest this week. If that doesn’t guarantee a big Cutler week, nothing will.