It seems so poetic in a way. Everything started to go awry for Jay Cutler two years ago on a frigid January day. As the 2013 playoff race draws down to the wire, his future with the Chicago Bears may come full circle.
Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers looming in the distance for Cutler
Most Bears fans can’t forget that miserable day in January of 2011. Chicago was in the midst of a furious battle with their ancient rival Green Bay Packers for the right to go to the Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers had given his team the lead and fans were hopeful Jay Cutler could overcome a sluggish start to bring his team back. Instead he was forced to bow out of the contest due to a grade II MCL sprain, setting off a firestorm of social media outbursts from fans and fellow athletes that he was weak for not at least trying to come back. The rest is etched in stone. Green Bay held on to win 21-14 and capped a magical season with their fourth Lombardi trophy. Fast forward three years and it’s impossible not to see the stars aligning once again. Chicago and Green Bay are both riding back-to-back victories down the final stretch. Both needed late comebacks to win in week 15. Both know how tenuous a hold the Detroit Lions have on the division lead at present. Wins next week could set up yet another high stakes showdown at Soldier Field, by which time Rodgers should be back from his collarbone injury. That means Cutler will have to score points to win, something he hasn’t done much of in his career against the Packers.
Marc Trestman will know the true nature of Cutler in finale
Point of order. There is still a chance week 17 could prove anti-climactic. Detroit could win out to make everything moot. Green Bay doesn’t have a gimme at home next week against Pittsburgh and the Bears have all they can handle in visiting the schizophrenic Philadelphia Eagles. However, it’s impossible to deny the feel in the air. It has that sense of destiny around it, that inevitability that makes pro football so much fun to watch. Giving Cutler not only a shot at clinching a playoff birth and perhaps a long-term contract extension to stay in Chicago, it also gives him a chance at redemption, a chance to beat a team that has tortured him for years in a meaningful game. That after all is what head coach Marc Trestman is looking for. He wants his quarterback to step up his game when the pressure is on. Otherwise how can his team ever expect to win a championship?
Jay Cutler has played well when his team has needed him the most, which is a credit to his steadiness in the face of adversity, but his ongoing propensity for making costly mistakes is something the Packers have fed off of in every meeting since he arrived in the town. If he shows he can match Rodgers in numbers as well as in efficiency, the Chicago Bears have their answer regarding his contract. The same goes for if he doesn’t too.