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Bears Lament Lovie’s Reverse; Time to Lay off Cutler

By Guest Columnist Mark Kelley

It’s 3rd and 2, Bears are on the Packers’ 29 yard line, down 7 with 1:15 left on the clock and two timeouts. Matt Forte is lined up in the backfield, and third string quarterback Caleb Hanie takes the snap. A big hole opens up on the left side; it looks like an easy Chicago first down. Timeout, Bears.

The Bears offense huddles around offensive coordinator Mike Martz to give Hanie time to get the play. As the offense lines up, wide receiver Earl Bennett goes in motion and takes the ball on a reverse. Predictably, the Packers swarm and Bennett is gang tackled for a 2-yard loss.

The national media wants to make a story out of the injured Jay Cutler not playing the in the second half, but I want to know why Martz would call reverse to his least athletic receiver against one of the most athletic defenses in the NFL in this critical situation. There was plenty of time to jam the football up the middle, twice if necessary, to get the first down. But the coaching staff dials up Bennett, running 30 yards clear across the formation when the marker is 2 yards away. Meanwhile speedsters Johnny Knox and the NFL’s all time greatest return man Devin Hester are left to block and cringe as the Bears’ Super Bowl hopes died before the ball was even snapped.

Then – to make matters worse – with one time out left, the Bears call a pass play with 2 deep routes and no check down, leaving the untested QB no time and no option but to heave it downfield and pray. Was the coaching staff saving that timeout for next season? The media should be talking about how Lovie and his staff blew the NFC Championship game. Calling the slowest developing play in football was clearly a bad choice.

Cutler played the entire season behind the worst offensive line in the NFL, was the most sacked QB in the league and played at least a few series with an injured knee. Let’s try to let Cutler heal up and enjoy his off-season in “The Hills” while the staff figures out why the Bears really lost the game.



  1. jeff ulman

    January 30, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Well said. We here in Baltimore have been watching Donte Stallworth run a predictable reverse all year long. However, I don’t find Jay Cutler to be the innocent lightning rod. Throughout the course of his career he’s made it a point to aggravate, annoy, and irk most of the people in his locker room. Uhrlacher backed him up because that is what good teammates do. Would there have been this much backlash if Joe Flacco, a reportedly “good” guy, had gone out injured? Probably not.

  2. Mike

    January 30, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Cutler has certainly been vocal with his complaints. That’s fair. However, the very week before this game he was out there running hard, and taking risks. He stands tall when the hits are on the way behind a Bears O-line that might be the weakest one ever to participate in the playoffs. He has taken the punishing hits and comeback time and again, which means that questioning his toughness is simply absurd. Urlacher and other teammates stuck up for him because of that reason, no other.

  3. Jesus Moreno

    January 31, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Right on my man. In Jay we trust

  4. cgaspard

    February 1, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    I agree completely. The real problem with the media is how he carries himself to those outside of the team. Cedric Benson was in a similar situation and no player stepped up to defend him. It is totally classless that so many ex-players and players slandered him and his questioned his toughness. The only people that matter and that he has to prove himself to is his teammates and coaches. They all seem to respect him and believe in his injury. If there is a “real problem” and there is internal team questions, it will be apparent when training camp starts and when team begins to play again. BEAR DOWN, JAY and the BEARs

  5. Mike Bradley

    February 3, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    I don’t know why they didn’t continue to run it up the middle, it was successful almost the entire game. It was almost as if they just gave up!

  6. Janie

    February 13, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Great article Brother!!!! I particularly like the last sentence 🙂

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