Jay Cutler Deserves Criticism For Sitting
Green Bay drew first blood after a superb opening drive led by Aaron Rodgers, who completed four of four passes for 76 yards and capped it off with a 1-yard naked bootleg into the end zone for a 7-0 lead. Rodgers finished 17 of 30 for 244 yards passing, and the Packers won 21-14.
However, the play of Rodgers, as wonderful as he was at times, was not the story of the day. The biggest storyline, unfortunately, belonged to Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
Cutler was less than great in the biggest game of the season, going 6/14 for 80 yards and an interception and ended up sitting the majority of the second half with what turned out to be a sprained ligament in his knee. It is still unclear when it happened, but Cutler injured his left knee at some point in the first half and was only able to play one drive in the second half.
The biggest controversy was not Cutler’s stat line, but the way he ended his season.
Cutler did not seem hurt at all as he played. He just seemed not to be hitting his receivers: overthrowing Devin Hester, underthrowing Johnny Knox, and getting hit numerous times. But for him to sit out the rest of the game in the biggest game of the season and possibly of his career, one can’t help but question his toughness.
Regardless of the fact that he was hurt, Cutler showed absolutely no signs of trying to get back into the game. In the second half, he was shown standing on the sideline with his jacket, watching the game with droopy eyes. He seemed completely disinterested in what was happening with his team.
Many people, including current and former players, were ripping Cutler on Twitter for sitting out the second half.
I am not ashamed to say that I agree with them.
Cutler threw in the towel in the biggest game of his career to date because of a little bit of pain in his knee. Sure, we found out after the fact that it was a second degree MCL sprain, but would that take someone out of the biggest game of his career if he was fine to walk on it?
Let’s compare Phillip Rivers, a man who I despise in the NFL for his cockiness on the field, to Cutler.
Rivers plays with a bravado about him that may or may not rub people the wrong way but, despite his attitude, no one can question his passion for the game, much less his toughness. Whereas Cutler couldn’t make it past the first five minutes of the second half, Rivers played the entire 2008 AFC Championship Game with a torn ACL that required surgery to repair.
Cutler stood around looking droopy about his hurt knee, while Rivers hurt his knee the week before, did everything he could to fix it in that one week, then came out and played an entire game on it because he knew his team was counting on him to provide the best opportunity to win. The Bears believed Cutler was the man who gave them the best opportunity also, but after he was forced to sit, he did not seem upset.
His teammates may not be criticizing him or throwing him under the bus because they are good teammates, but I know one thing for sure: It took Cutler a long time to even get this opportunity to lead his team to a potential Super Bowl. It may not ever come around again for him.
If I’m Cutler and I thought even for a second that I was going to sit out the biggest game of my career even though I had the ability to keep playing, there is no way I would pass up that opportunity. I would have to physically be unable to walk before anyone took me out.
But, hey, I guess Cutler can always hope his team does as well next year. And look at the bright side for him: He’s got Kristin Cavallari to go home to.
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