Want to protect Cutler? Run the stinkin' ball

One good thing about Jay Cutler’s near-Super-Bowl-dream-ending injury: The Super Bowl dream remains alive, even if it now might be wrapped in Kevlar and popping Vicodin.

Just because Jason Campbell is not Caleb Hanie -- I believe he’s legally changing his name to Not Caleb Hanie -- doesn’t mean anyone thinks he’s a championship quarterback. He’s an insurance policy, not a lottery ticket.

Another good thing about Cutler’s near-Super-Bowl-dream-ending injury: It should clear the room of idiots who still want to question the guy’s toughness.

As if 94 sacks in his last 31 games, which is less than two full seasons, isn’t explanation enough.

Another good thing about Cutler’s near-Super-Bowl-dream-ending injury: It might finally force the Bears to get off the bus running.

Look, the Bears are not the explosive offense we expected. It might grow up to become that offense some day, but not today. And now the offense certainly is limited by Cutler’s injury.

So, milk the patient game plan. That means running the ball against the dogbreath Panthers.

The way the Bears' defense is playing, the offense can only help itself by eating clock and yards on the ground. Get an aggressive defense more rest, get the ball back more.

Or congratulate the defense after it reaches the end zone.

This strategy is not just the answer for minimizing danger to Cutler’s ribs. It’s also necessary to avoid having the defense fade later in the season.

In the win over the Lions, Matt Forte gained 96 yards on 22 carries, an average of 4.4 a carry. Michael Bush picked up 36 yards on six carries for a nice, even average of six. Combined, that’s an average of 4.7 yards per rush. Hel-lo.

Nobody has said anything official, but Forte left Monday night’s game with an injury to either his right elbow or upper arm. Bears coach Lovie Smith called such things bumps and bruises. He would’ve called Cutler’s near-Super-Bowl-dream-ending injury a bump or a bruise if it wasn’t so public. Smith offers injury details only at gunpoint. Your wallet or your running back’s health.

But let’s presume Forte is healthy, and even if the Bears have to start Bush, when you look at their production, you wonder why you’d expose Cutler to more risk than necessary.

When you look at the Panthers defense, you conclude that someone should be fired if the Bears do it any other way.

Ron Rivera’s bunch allows an average of 24 points a game, about the middle of the NFL rankings. Good victim there. Carolina has allowed 366.2 yards per game, ranking among the bottom half of the league. Better victim there.

But most inviting is a defense that surrenders an average of 120.3 rushing yards a game and 4.1 per carry, along with allowing a pathetic 45-percent conversion rate on third down, ranking among the bottom five.

The Panthers can’t get off the field. The Bears offense needs to stay on the field. The Bears offense needs to get better at running the ball, and the way to do that is to commit to it. For all kinds of reasons, this seems to be the perfect week to do it.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Forte dash

    Forte dash

    Bears running back Matt Forte rushes past Detroit Lions defensive back Alphonso Smith (27) in the second quarter Monday.

  • No fixes in sight for state budget, CPS pension payment

    No fixes in sight for state budget, CPS pension payment

    Facing a day of multiple deadlines, Illinois lawmakers return to the Capitol on Tuesday little closer to coming up with a new state budget or helping Chicago Public Schools deal with a deadline for a massive pension payment.

  • Donald Trump says cops should be tougher on Chicago crime

    Donald Trump says cops should be tougher on Chicago crime

    Businessman Donald Trump brought his nascent bid for the Republican presidential nomination to town Monday, warning that crime in Chicago is "out of control" and hurting the city's image worldwide.

  • South Carolina church shooting shines spotlight on media treatment of white, black suspects

    South Carolina church shooting shines spotlight on media treatment of white, black suspects

    I have been to the Grammy Awards. I have had features written about my music in Billboard, XXL, Jet and other magazines I've always loved. Oprah Winfrey told me to my face that she loves my dreads and purple eyebrows. My music is played on TV shows and movies, and I write about my opinionated views...

  • 'Magic Mike XXL' is the summer's best sequel so far

    'Magic Mike XXL' is the summer's best sequel so far

    2012’s “Magic Mike” and its sequel, “Magic Mike XXL,” could have been so stupid, and I’m sure those who haven’t seen either one assume that they are. I mean, think of how cheesy a movie about male strippers could be. Based on the commercials, they barely seem like movies at all—just two-hour thrust-athons...

  • Vince Staples' sprawling double album 'Summertime '06' is relentlessly gritty

    Vince Staples' sprawling double album 'Summertime '06' is relentlessly gritty

    Vince Staples deals in pessimism, for good reason. The Long Beach rapper has seen a lot of violence and despair in his 21 years. He'll tell you about it too, in unflinching clarity that few artists his age possess. There’s little if any hope in his music. Yet even with the darkness oozing out of...

  • RedEye's favorite songs of 2015 (so far)

    RedEye's favorite songs of 2015 (so far)

    As we reach 2015's midpoint, it's clear that the year in music has been incredible, with a little bit of everything, from classic soul, rap, emo, '70s funk, grunge and scorching Southern rock to searing punk, bubblegum pop and jazz fusion. In particular, Kendrick Lamar's rap-funk masterpiece "To...

  • RedEye's 25 favorite albums of 2015 (so far)

    RedEye's 25 favorite albums of 2015 (so far)

    As we reach 2015's midpoint, it's clear that the year in music has been incredible, with a little bit of everything from classic soul, rap, emo, '70s funk, grunge and scorching Southern rock to searing punk, bubblegum pop and jazz fusion. In particular, Kendrick Lamar's rap-funk masterpiece "To...

Comments
Loading