The Minnesota Vikings have lost five of the last six games against Jay Cutler when they have failed to sack him more than twice.
Adrian Peterson notwithstanding, it is difficult to like their chances on Sunday in Soldier Field, where they last won against any Bears quarterback since 2007. Their chances dim significantly if the Bears are able to unsheathe Matt Forte and take the defense’s attention away from Cutler the way the Detroit Lions used Reggie Bush to undermine any Vikings plan for getting after Matthew Stafford in the Lions’ 34-24 win last Sunday.
Stafford wasn’t sacked. He was only hit three times.
Cutler’s shakedown cruise against the Cincinnati Bengals in the offense of Marc Trestman/Aaron Kromer was a success. No sacks at the hands of an elite pass rush, effective/efficient game management, and a win. Tellingly perhaps, Cutler said on Thursday that he wasn’t actually aware of not being sacked (he was hit four times), a strong sign that his line had allowed him to not think much about the pass rush.
Cutler has talked about his developing comfort level with the new offense and a successful start should only reinforce everything Trestman, Kromer and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh have been telling him.
“Our biggest concern is us as players being able to execute them and knowing our assignments,” Cutler said.
Cutler has enjoyed above-his-average success against the Vikings: eight games, 17 touchdowns, nine interceptions and a passer rating of 91.7. Seven of the games were as a Bear and he owns a 5-2 record against the Vikings.
Notable perhaps, after four sacks in the first 2009 game, a loss, Cutler has taken no more than two sacks at the hands of the Vikings and only one in three of the six since that first game.
“With Jay, you’ve got to put pressure to him,” said Vikings defensive end Jared Allen. “If he can sit back there and set his feet, he’s deadly. When he runs on his terms, when he gets outside the pocket and does things on his terms, he’s a very dangerous quarterback.
“The key to him, you’ve got to put pressure on him constantly. You’ve got to be around him. You’ve got to hit him.”