Pass protection was shaky in the first half, culminating in a sack and strip by Jared Allen that was returned 61 yards by Brian Robison. Jay Cutler was under exponentially more pressure from the Minnesota Vikings than he was from Cincinnati. Cutler was forced to scramble twice in the first half in addition to the sack/strip, and the Vikings were credited with three hits on Cutler besides the sack.
Jermon Bushrod went against Allen without extensive use of a back or tight end helping, but drew a fourth-quarter, final-drive holding penalty.
So much for the negatives, the reason why the offensive line doesn’t get an “A+” from a game in which the offense scored 31 points.
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The reality is that Allen’s sack was an effort sack, pursuing Cutler deep into the play. Allen had two tackles for loss, a Cutler hit and the forced fumble to go with six tackles, but Bushrod sealed Cutler’s blind side and rookie Jordan Mills dealt with left end Robison.
Matt Forte’s 4.7-yard average on his 19 carries was a testament to the work up front and the winning touchdown drive was accomplished without Cutler forced to run even once on 10 plays at a time when the Vikings knew he would be in the pocket throwing.
“It all goes back to the protection,” coach Marc Trestman said. “[Cutler] had time to drop back; he had a dish to work with, to step-up.”
Rest of Week 2 Report Card