Cutler rallies Bears again, beats Seahawks
Converted defensive back Devin Hester is still learning Chicago's offense. Yet he pulled aside Jay Cutler on Sunday and delivered a veteran receiver's plea: I'm open. Give me the ball.
Cutler listened quietly. Then, with less than 2 minutes left and Chicago down by two, he obliged.
Cutler's miserable Bears debut two weeks ago became further forgotten when he completed all three of his passes on the decisive drive. The third was for 36 yards to Hester with 1:52 remaining, on the slant the receiver had requested, rallying the Bears to a 25-19 victory over the depleted Seattle Seahawks.
Cutler pumped his fists, hugged his linemen, and raised both arms triumphantly after the go-ahead score.
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Exactly the scene the Bears envisioned when they traded a king's ransom to Denver to get him.
"I pride myself in that. I want the ball in those situations and I think this offense is starting to get a feel for it," Cutler said.
"Any time you can get Devin Hester one-on-one, it works."
Cutler overcame a malfunctioning helmet headset and a raucous Seattle crowd that made play calls hard to hear to complete 21 of 27 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception.
He also completed more than 70 percent of his throws last week against the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers - a doubly strong response to the career-high four interceptions he threw in a loss on opening night at Green Bay.
"To me, you judge good quarterbacks based on what they can do late in the game, and Jay wants the ball in his hands," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "He had a good look about him knowing that we had to go down and score. We all had confidence that he would lead us."
Hester said he had "chitchatted" Cutler throughout the game, telling him "Hey, the slant's there."
Almost everything else was, too, for Cutler and Chicago (2-1) late against a defense that was missing two starting linebackers and two starting cornerbacks - then lost a third when Ken Lucas missed the winning drive because he aggravated a groin injury.