Jay Cutler returned to action after missing last week's game because of a concussion and threw for 188 yards and a touchdown. The win improved the Bears to 8-3 and back into first place of the NFC North.
It was a painful win for the team, however.
Five Bears suffered injuries in this one, including two members of the offensive line. Coming into the game, the Bears had a shake up on the line, benching both right tackle Gabe Carimi and left guard Chilo Rachal in favor of Jonathan Scott and Chris Spencer. Spencer, as well as right guard Lance Louis both suffered knee injuries in the third quarter, and Carimi played right guard the rest of the game.
Louis has since been placed on IR, so Carimi may be suiting up at guard the rest of the way.
The Bears also saw Devin Hester leave early with a concussion, as well as star cornerback Charles Tillman and running back Matt Forte leave with ankle injuries.
The extent of Forte and Tillman has yet to be released.
As for Cutler, he looked sharp in his return to the field, completing 23-of-31 passes. He was able to find his groove with Marshall throughout the game — 12 receptions, 92 yards — and the receiver now has more than 1,000 receiving yards on the season.
"I felt good," Cutler said. "It was a matter of going through the motions, talking to the doctors. I had a good week of practice, a shorter week with the Monday game and Thanksgiving."
He shined in his return to the field, and has us wondering, should he be an MVP candidate?
The answer is yes.
Statistics don't show the whole story, however. Purely looking at the numbers, Cutler doesn't belong in the same breath as the Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Mannings of the world. He ranks 20th in QBR, has accounted for more turnovers than touchdowns and has been known to boast a sour facial expression.
Through all the negative surrounding Cutler, he manages to win games. Isn't that what's important?
Since Cutler arrived in Chicago in 2009, the Bears are 31-19 with him under center. Take away the poor first year, they're 24-10. His backups, meanwhile, are 2-6.
That trend proved true last season when Cutler led this team to a playoff-worthy start to the season before getting hurt, only to see the team flounder in his absence. Even without him at quarterback for the second half against the Houston Texans and last Monday against the San Francisco 49ers, the offense looked lost.
Cutler just goes out and wins these games for the Bears despite what goes on around him. The play calling is very conservative, a handful of weapons around him are hurt and he has about three milliseconds to get rid of the football before being blindsided.
Yet, he still leads this team to victory after victory, putting them in a position that the numbers say no other quarterback could. For that reason, Cutler should have his name in the MVP mix as at the end of the day, winning is all that matters.
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