A beat-up Bears quarterback Jay Cutler shows off his bloody tongue in the first half.
Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer
Jay Cutler took a beating against the Browns, but he never missed a play.
The pounding started when he was on the receiving end of a helmet-to-helmet hit from Browns linebacker Kamerion Wimbley that made Cutler bite his tongue and left him spitting blood.
But the 15-yard penalty negated an incomplete pass on third-and-8 and led to the Bears' first TD and a 16-0 lead with 1:56 left before halftime.
"He hit me on the chin a little bit," Cutler said. "I bit my tongue. That happens. I'm just thankful we got the call."
Cutler getting buried under Browns defenders was a frequent sight.
Late in the third quarter Shaun Rogers landed on top of the Bears' quarterback with all of his 350 pounds after a 31-yard pass to Johnny Knox. Cutler threw his helmet to the ground but stayed in the game, and Matt Forte scored on the next play.
And those two plays were in addition to 4 sacks and a couple other knockdowns, often by Rogers.
"Shaun Rogers is a big guy, so every time he hits you, that counts as two," Cutler said.
Cutler's gutsy performance didn't tell offensive coordinator Ron Turner anything he didn't already know.
"It says what we all know about him, he's a great player," Turner said. "He's extremely tough, and he's a great competitor."
Cutler completed 17 of 30 passes for 225 yards, but an interception left him with a mediocre passer rating of 66.7.
The Bears' leaky offensive line didn't show much improvement Sunday despite a switch from Frank Omiayle to Josh Beekman at left guard. Cutler was asked if he could continue taking the punishment he's endured after 15 sacks.
"I hope we don't find out," he said, smiling. "We've got to get better offensively. You can't depend on roughing-the-passer penalties to always be your momentum. You're not always going to get those. We've got to get some big runs, we've got to get some big passes, and get the wheels going a little bit. If we're going to bank on a pass interference or roughing the passer, we're going to be in trouble."
No one more so than Cutler, who was asked if he'd ever been beaten up so badly in a 24-point win.
"I don't know," he said. "I'll have to go back and think about it."