The Sports Xchange
NFL Team Report - Chicago Bears - INSIDE SLANT
The victory may prove galvanizing in a sense because Cutler eventually made Trestman look good with three touchdown passes over the game's final 31 minutes, and possibly because it brought Cutler's confidence -- if not the team's confidence in him -- to new levels.
"I didn't take any temperature," Trestman said Monday about whether he asked players how they felt about Cutler's return. "I didn't. I stayed resolute, I think, in that I felt it was in the best interest of the team from the beginning to make sure that everybody knew the direction that we were going to go. So I did not do that in any way."
It didn't look good when Cutler threw two interceptions, one of which wide receiver Brandon Marshall took blame for in the end zone to end the first Bears drive.
"There's no quarterback competition," Marshall said later. "And it was just tough for all of us. We all rallied around Jay coming back. We were excited about it. He led us in the fourth quarter. We'll do better and clean it up next week."
Cutler threw for 265 yards on 22 of 31 passing and had a passer rating of 102.2, his third-highest rating of the year. The three touchdowns matched his season high, and the Bears converted 9 of 14 third downs (64 percent).
Nevertheless, Cutler admitted he needed to gauge teammates and see how they felt about the decision that he would start over McCown, who had a 109.8 passer rating after Cutler suffered a high ankle sprain.
"I felt the need to talk to some people before," he said. "I talked to B (Marshall), I talked to Matt (Forte), I talked to some linemen, just to let them know because I don't know how they feel, although I had a good feeling how they'd react. No one flinched. Everyone was all in on me."
Several reports citing unnamed sources before the game had said players were divided on whether they thought it was a wise move. Whether this actually was the case or not, Cutler admitted to feeling pressure going into the game.
"I think I'd be lying if I didn't say I was, with everything on the outside (media reports) and as well as Josh played," he said. "But this was the plan all along. No one really flinched in our building."
Just seeing Cutler openly discuss feeling pressure and handling it, and that he sought out opinions from teammates were refreshing changes from a player who often has been difficult to decipher in the past. It showed an openness on different levels that could be a unifying factor going forward.
"I think that's the atmosphere that they want to create, that Trest wants to create, that (general manager) Phil Emery wants to create, (board chairman) George McCaskey," Cutler said. "I think that's kind of what direction we want to go in, having an open locker room; players, coaches all in on this.
"We've all got to be in and we've all got to make that happen."
NFL Team Report - Chicago Bears - NOTES, QUOTES
--The combination of Brandon Marshall-Alshon Jeffery is now the best ever for a season for a Bears receiving duo. Their total of 170 catches (80 Jeffery, 90 Marshall) for 2,450 yards (1,265 Jeffery, 1,185 Marshall) has beaten out the 2,347 by Marcus Robinson (1,400) and Bobby Engram (2,347) in 1999.
The real surprise remains Jeffery, who blossomed after just 24 catches in his injury-marred 2012 rookie season.