At first, it looked like Jay Cutler was way out of his comfort zone. The “Crybaby” tee shirts and the “Cutler Sucks” signs were in full effect as was the deafening collective “boo” from Broncos fans. Rocky Mountain Thunder made national viewers feel like Invesco Field was on hydraulics, and with a simple grab of the helmet to hear the first play call, Cutler looked like he was doomed. It felt like a playoff game, the energy of the crowd enough to power Times Square for years.
After a few three and outs, Brett Kern booted a 57 yard punt forcing the Bears to start at the 3 yard line. This is the approximate time that Cutler stared death in the face as he was almost sacked in the endzone by Elvis Dumervil. He saw the light, walked towards it a little, and then realized he had some football to play. Had we sacked him in the endzone at that time, his head may have not been in the right place to perform the way he did. And we all know that he can be a “head case.” Instead he went 15 for 21 with 144 yards and a touchdown. By comparison, Kyle Orton went 12 for 16 for 96 yards before his premature departure to the locker room with a bleeding index finger. Orton was almost picked off by Brian Urlacher after Correll Buckhalter didn’t sit down in his route. I thought the argument went: Cutler + No Receivers = Fail, and Orton + Good Receivers = Success. This equation was wrong on Sunday night as Orton threw a pass longer than 10 yards only once , while we all saw the Cutler show take center stage.
Some notable observations for preseason game #3:
– Eddie Royal is cool as a cucumber. If Royal played in the NBA, he’d look like Tim Duncan.
– Tom Brandstater had glimpses of success, but then threw an interception and lost a fumble. I didn’t think I would miss Chris Simms this much.
– The rushing game was a huge disappointment. Averaging 2.6 yards per carry in the first half isn’t going to get the job done. I thought going up against a poor rush defense would’ve jump started this aspect of our game.
– Everyone knows that Devin Hester is dangerous on punt returns, but did the guys on special teams get the memo? His 54 yard return set the Bears up nicely for their first TD of the game.
– The defense is absolutely better than last year. Brian Dawkins brings the intensity, Elvis Dumervil gets to the QB, and Ronald Fields clogs the middle. I like what I’m seeing from Mike Nolan’s squad and I think it will only get better.
– I’d like to see Coach McD take more shots downfield. Because our run game in the first half was horrible, I thought he should’ve tested the Bears secondary.
– Should the Broncos go 0-4 in the preseason, this will be the first year since 1960 (their inaugural year) that they’ve gone winless prior to the regular season.
Overall, I’m disappointed right now. I know McD needs some time to get this team firing on all cylinders, but I expected more success early on from the former Patriots coach. There’s only one more preseason game left, so we’re lucky that the first three games we play are winnable. After that, it’s going to be a bumpy road if we can’t get something going. Damn, this losing hangover is a bad one, and it’s not even the regular season.