Bears quarterback Jay Cutler escapes the rush of Arizona's Darnell Dockett.
Rick West | Staff Photographer
Lost amid the rubble of the Bears' third loss in four games was the second-biggest passing day of Jay Cutler's career.
When he wasn't being sacked 4 times for 22 yards in losses or scrambling for 17 yards on 3 scampers, Cutler put it up 47 times, completing 29 for 369 yards and 3 touchdowns, all to tight end Greg Olsen, for a passer rating of 98.6.
The Bears and Cutler came out throwing, and it worked - for a while.
All 6 plays on the Bears' opening 90-yard TD drive were passes, and Cutler completed 5, including a perfectly placed 42-yard bomb to Devin Hester and a 33-yard TD toss to Olsen to tie the game at 7-7.
"A couple of them we had runs called and they were in an eight-man front and we checked it," offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. "They were run/pass checks, depending on what we got. If they were going to play eight in the box (we were going to throw). We wanted to run it some, but it was based on what they were giving us."
But Cutler couldn't keep up the frantic pace set by the Cardinals and their quarterback Kurt Warner, who had a 135.9 passer rating and 5 TD passes.
"A few penalties, a sack and we had to punt a couple times," Cutler said. "We felt like we were moving the ball well, we just couldn't keep up with them."
Cutler's frustration boiled over just past the midway point of the third quarter with the Bears trailing 34-7. On fourth-and-4 Cutler targeted Olsen, who may have been mugged before the pass arrived. When there was no call, Cutler voiced his displeasure and drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
"There was a lot of contact," Cutler said. "Greg got called for one (offensive pass interference), and then they were making contact on other plays."
"So you had a dialogue with the official?" Cutler was asked.
"That's fair to say," he said.
It's fair to question the Bears' ability to remain in the playoff race, but Cutler said there are some positive signs, at least on offense.
"We talked a lot about us executing, going out and doing our jobs, going out and hitting our hot (reads), blocking the right guy, doing the right assignment," Cutler said. "For the most part we did that. We moved the ball. Stupid penalties and a couple sacks here and there, we shot ourselves in the foot. But for the most part we were moving the ball. We had a good rhythm. I think that's a positive."
Unfortunately for the Bears, most of the positives occurred after they fell behind 34-7.