Ahead of the Curve
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It was the most telling play of Sunday night's Bear / Eagle contest: third and five; inside their own 30; 3+ minutes on the clock and down by four points.  But rather than go for the first down, the Bear coaching staff had quarterback Jay Cutler throw a 50 yard bomb.  Not surprisingly, when the precarious play-call fails, Cutler gets booed.

Had failure resulted instead from a more practical plan to get successive first downs and matriculate into the end-zone, it would've been the coaching staff, not the QB, who would've taken most of the post-game heat for being unskilled or too conservative.

Some on the Bear staff may've lost confidence after the Eagles had taken the late game lead.  The long-pass appeared designed as much to provide cover as it was for success.

The clock might not have been the Bear's friend but it wasn't exactly their enemy either.  With 3+ minutes to play, there was plenty of time to march downfield and score a TD.  They'd done it earlier.  Cutler was playing smart and the running game had showed signs of life.

Jay's final-drive interception doesn't mean anything, except the added cover some on the sidelines seemed to be seeking.  The game was already lost at that point.  If his nerves weren't totally frayed from Eagle defenders rushing through his porous offensive line all night, then the odd play-calling was sure to have given Mr. Cutler a migraine.

Bear's founder / owner George Halas, it was said, threw nickels around like manhole covers.  Some would say his approach to management lives on in Chicago.  The signing of Jay Cutler has been an expensive deviation from that fiscally-conservative approach and everyone expects results.  With the Vikings, Packers and, dare I say, Lions all making progress, the Monsters of the Midway don't want to be left behind.

Lovie Smith is a good coach.  But he, and Ron Turner, better start coaching with more of Bill Belichick's confidence and less consternation or they'll both be added to the millions of talented, good guys looking for a job in America when season's end rolls around.

Steven Keys

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