Monday, September 21, 2009

Cutler Redeems Nightmarish Blunders: Bears Aren't Done Just Yet

The images defined much about the game of football in a Sunday matinee. You can define it as momentum, or even a game of faltering on some occasions. Either way, the Chicago Bears might not be on the verge of hibernation. Instead they might have a chance of prolonging an auspicious season, with other teams faltering late in games.

Somehow, the Bears managed, escaping from a tense afternoon at Solider Field. And somehow they managed to survive in an uptight finish against the defending champs. Yes, the Bears outlasted the Pittsburgh Steelers, notching a desperation 17-14 comeback victory. That’s a sigh of relief for them, having entered the season with high expectations after acquiring Jay Cutler, the proclaimed franchise quarterback.

It could’ve turned into an unpleasant afternoon, as disappointed fans would’ve left with doubt in their minds. Of course, fans were worried and felt uncomfortable watching them in the final quarter. They could have easily fallen to 0-2, a poor start that would have dictated the rest of their season.

But a dramatic comeback against the Steelers is enough to restore confidence for a franchise that was forlorn and seemed incapable a week ago. It seemed the Bears were done as Cutler had the worst game of his career. He threw four interceptions, and was confused, harassed, and belittled in a bitter loss at Green Bay.

Maybe a win over a potent team was needed, saving a potential season from wasting and blowing off with the gusty winds. In fact, a win this decisive favored Cutler and saved probability of him emerging into the next franchise quarterback in Chicago.

For weeks now, fans and media have dwelled on the fact that he’ll be the next to quarterback the Bears. For months now, fans have welcomed a disgruntled Cutler, defending and praising the Pro-Bowl quarterback.

His egotistic mindset cut an irreparable relationship short in Denver, when disputes with first year head coach Josh McDaniels failed and unfolded a grotesque separation all because of ego conflict.

So now, he has migrated to Chicago, where he’s quickly emerging as an icon. His jersey is a top-seller, and he’s likable, as most citizens are elated finally to have a precise quarterback. A long-suffering town feels Cutler’s presence is an unequivocal indication of multiple titles.

For a long time, the town has painfully suffered and long-awaited to embrace someone of Jim McMahon’s caliber. The mid 1980s was the last time lively fans have seen a championship-type quarterback who has shown his ability legitimately.

So the calm and thrilled fans waited to see him have a breakout game and win his first game in a Bears’ uniform. Fortunately, it came in his home debut, in front of thousands who wore a Cutler jersey. They were the same devotees who refused to surrender, allowing Cutler a chance for redemption in a notable homecoming.

He can finally sigh, capping his first victory and redeeming himself after a devastating collapse in the season opener, which led to more doubtful queries him being a cure for the long years of quarterback debacles.

Failures and different faces at the same position over the years have hindered success over the years, which is why now the average native in Chicago is exhilarated, having a reliable and more durable gunslinger.

But Sunday, fans were more pleased with the Bears managing its first win, discarding all the dismal scenes in Green Bay. To highlight this fearful and elusive contest, it came down to field goals.

The powerful foot of Robbie Gould, who’s as good as gold, not only dictated the season, but dictated the game. This saved Cutler getting belittled and doubted. More seriously, it gave the Bears life. So Gould, again, bailed out the team like he used to before Cutler even arrived.

Managing to stay composed, Gould calmly booted a game-winning field goal, outlasting Pittsburgh’s veteran kicker Jeff Reed in a kicker’s duel. Over on the sideline, Reed watched, upset with himself after missing two costly field goal attempts. That’s unusual for Reed, whose 82.8 percent career conversion rate automatically makes him the 10th accurate kicker in the league. Well, not on this particular afternoon.

If he wouldn’t had hooked his kicks too wide, the Steelers would have avoided an upset. They even would have still intimidated most with their natural ability to pull off a stunning win at the end. But on this occasion, the conversations were on how well Cutler performed, bouncing back from a sub-par week. In this game, he led a fourth-quarter rally and never turned over the ball.

He had excellent ball security, and went 9-for-10 in the fourth quarter for 92 yards. It was a solid performance, unlike last week and has giving the city a notion that he can renew quarterback heroics.

Against one of the league’s powerful defenses, Cutler wisely was careful with the ball and avoid defensive end James Harrison. Minus explosive safety Troy Polamalu, who abuses opposing quarterbacks with his speed wasn’t a factor, making times easier. Cutler finished 27-of-38 for 236 yards for two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Just a week ago, Cutler was criticized for his maturity level and arrogance. He was bashed by former coaching greats Jim Mora and Mike Martz for his rudeness at a press conference after the Bears first loss. Even irate Denver is still lambasting him for departing in such an awful way.

He was even criticized by the well-respected and former coach Tony Dungy, who said he wasn’t mature enough to establish as a leader. But willing to give him a chance was Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo. Instead the Bears were amazed with his talent more than personality, realizing his powerful arm and accurate downfield passes.

Being without their top defensive star Brian Urlacher for the rest of the season after he badly dislocated his wrist, more productivity from the offense is needed. So for the fans, it’s more of the joy to finally have a more potent passer and leader on offense.

There’s hope for the Bears after all.