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Is Bears OC Adam Gase making the game fun for Cutler?


Somewhat lost in Monday night's 22-19 victory over the Chargers was the fact that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler played another good game behind center. In 2015, he's 3-4 as a starter on a rebuilding team and he completed almost 70 percent of his passes Monday during a West Coast road game. We'll forgive the pick-six.

Cutler hasn't completed fewer than 63 percent of his passes since an Oct. 11 win over the Chiefs, and even then he threw a pair of touchdowns and zero interceptions.

NFL Media's Brian Baldinger picked up on Cutler's demeanor down the stretch and into the fourth quarter and, during an appearance on NFL Total Access, noted that this is the most carefree he's ever seen the Bears quarterback.

"He looked extremely comfortable," Baldinger said. "He looked like he was having fun. You see that kind of emotion, you don't see a lot of that from Jay sometimes."

Cutler passed Sid Luckman for No. 1 all time on the franchise's passing touchdown mark.

So what gives? We've been promised a new Cutler or a better Cutler or a different Cutler for years now and it always seems to revert back to the default setting. However, new offensive coordinator Adam Gase seems to be calling the shots in a way that is truly impressive -- like one of the best jobs done by a coordinator this year impressive.

When a younger coordinator, especially one who made his name working with Peyton Manning, starts another job he'll automatically be met with a healthy amount of skepticism. But as it turns out, all of the things Manning liked about Gase -- tireless work ethic, ability to simplify a game plan, vision to pinpoint an opponent's weaknesses -- are also paying dividends with Cutler.

History tells us that Gase should push harder than ever to become a head coach this offseason, because Cutler could always regress to the mean again, but Gase might not need to try very hard. After nearly landing a job in 2015 and emerging as a hot candidate in 2014, this was the kind of resume building block that will solidify his name among executives. He can do it without Manning. Heck, on Monday night he did it without Matt Forte (and Brandon Marshall and Kevin White and an offensive line) as well.

So when we revisit the 2015 Bears season, the one that was supposed to be so bad that Cutler's eventual replacement could be taken with the No. 1 pick in April, thank Gase for making the game fun again. Thank Gase for making the Bears' offense watchable when no one gave him a chance.