Bears Lose to Packers 21-14 in NFC Championship Game – Cutler the Next Bartman? — Wrigley Field Soldier Field 1/24/11

Posted on 24 January 2011 by Lou

The Chicago Bears lost to the Green Bay Packers 21-14 in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday at Soldier Field.  It brought an end to an otherwise surprisingly good season for the 2010 Chicago Bears.  Most critics/fans picked the Bears to finish behind both the Packers and Minnesota Vikings during the 2010 NFL Campaign.  Instead, the Bears went 11-5 and finished atop the NFC North Division with the 2nd overall seed in the NFC.

The game’s drama surrounded the apparent knee injury suffered by Quarterback Jay Cutler.  Many questioned why he played so poorly and why he sat out the majority of the 2nd half since it didn’t really seem like he was that hurt.  He never grimaced in pain; you never really knew which play caused the injury; and he stood on the sideline the rest of the game without needing crutches or a cart to help him move.  Very odd, but that is Cutler’s temperament.  He never really shows too much emotion either way, which is both a good thing and bad thing.  Bears fans have been criticizing Cutler for giving up and having no heart.  Former and current NFL players ripped Cutler all day on Sunday and today for leaving the game on his own accord and not fighting to stay in there until the bitter end.  The only people that really defended Cutler were his coaches and teammates, including Head Coach Lovie Smith, Linebacker Brian Urlacher, Center Olin Kreutz (who said he saw Cutler’s leg and ligament twitching in the huddle during the game) and 3rd string Quarterback Caleb Hainie who almost led the improbably comeback in the 4th quarter.  Cutler got a little redemption today when an MRI revealed that he had a serious MCL sprain in his knee.

As for me, it seemed pretty weak that he left the game, but seeing the guy get sacked over 50 times during the regular season and still go back in there for every play (save for 1 game when he was not medically cleared because of a concussion that he suffered), I can’t really question his toughness.  When  the New York Giants crushed the Bears earlier this season in the New Meadowlands Stadium, the Giants sacked Cutler 8 times – in the 1st half alone.  Gimme a break.  Cutler never once criticized the play of this offensive line and he always went back into the game to try to lead his team to victory.  Sure maybe he should have kept playing until his knee completely blew out, but what would that have really proved?  Maybe he should have started limping more to show Bears fans that he was really hurt, but again, I think that’s just the way he is.  Not showing too much emotion and not showing too much pain.

So has Jay Cutler superseded Steve Bartman as the biggest Chicago Sports villain of all time?  It’s pretty comical isn’t it?  Hearing about fans burning their Cutler jerseys in protest. I love this town and the passion of its fans, but sometimes I think we all need to lighten up a little bit.  After all, it is just a game.  And there’s always next year…

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