The Bears got exactly the game they needed from Jay Cutler, his fifth in six this season with a passer rating of 90-plus but most important, zero turnovers in a game ultimately decided by less than one touchdown.
Cutler has been interception-free in three of the last four games, one of the true keys to Bears survival while the defense is unable to keep opponents under 21 points per game. The New York Giants were able to sustain long drives for scores but started only one possession farther out than their own 21-yard line and keeping Eli Manning from benefitting from a short field was critical.
“We didn’t finish some drives,” said coach Marc Trestman, “but Jay took care of the football.”
Cutler completed24 of 36 passes for 262 yards and a rating of 106.5, representative of the absence of interceptions. He was well-protected overall (only two hits, per post-game stats) and scrambled three times out of trouble when the need arose.
And he effectively used all his receivers, with 11 targets of Brandon Marshall, seven of Martellus Bennett, six of Matt Forte and five of Alshon Jeffery. As important, he is taking the lead in demanding the Bears reach a higher offensive bar, which they indeed will need to reach with a stretch of Green Bay-Detroit-Baltimore coming up after the off week.
“We won but you kind of leave unsatisfied,” Cutler said, “because I think we could have exploded for a little bit more.”
Moon's Grade: A