Anatomy of a Play: Favre-like mentality gets it done for Cutler

If you ever watched Jay Cutler play in Denver, you know he has a cannon for an arm. And he knows it, too. That's why he often tries to force passes into places they just don't fit, resulting in performances like his four-interception nightmare in Green Bay in Week 1.

Trivia question: With which other NFL quarterback can you combine the phrases, "four-interception nightmare" and "Green Bay"?

Hint: He wears Wranglers six days a week and purple on Sundays.

More Anatomy of a Play: Romo vs. rookie

Further Anatomy of a Play:
» NFL Films' Greg Smith on Romo's big INT

Former Packers quarterback Brett Favre cost his team many times but never remembered those days. He always possessed the shameless self-confidence a quarterback must have to overcome the bad times. And throughout his career, Favre's arm strength and belief in it, have won more games than they've lost.

Jay Cutler has Favre's arm, ego, and amnesia, and helped beat the Steelers first-class defense in Week 2.

With 23 seconds left in the first half, the Bears trailed 7-0 and faced third-and-goal at the 6-yard line. If you were to ask Lovie Smith if he would rather take three points or have Cutler try to squeeze a pass to his backup tight end between two Steelers, I'm guessing the Bears coach would take the field goal.

But Cutler pulled the trigger on the throw and fit the pass in to Kellen Davis, to tie the game before halftime.

Our Anatomy of a Play focuses on Cutler's second touchdown pass. It was third-and-goal from the 7, with 6:25 remaining in the game, and the Bears trailing, 14-7. Chicago shifted Matt Forte out of the backfield, leaving Cutler alone in the shotgun.

Pittsburgh attacked the empty set by blitzing linebacker Lawrence Timmons and cornerback William Gay off the edge to Cutler's right. Because the Bears shifted their line to the left, protecting Cutler's blindside, both Timmons and Gay were unblocked. They had a free run at Cutler.

By blitzing one of their cornerbacks, the Steelers were left with a safety covering wide receiver Johnny Knox. Pittsburgh often makes sacrifices like this in coverage, thinking its quick pressure will make up for the mismatch. It didn't work this time.

Cutler saw the unblocked blitzers and the mismatch of Knox on a safety. He knew he had a touchdown if he could bide enough time for Knox to win on his slant route.

When the ball was snapped, Cutler drifted backward away from Timmons, who was closing in like a raging bull. Once Knox made his break, Cutler threw a perfect pass, off-balance, with Timmons' hand right in his face.

Most of the blame for the Steelers loss falls on the shoulders of kicker Jeff Reed, who missed two fourth-quarter field goals. Most of the credit for the Bears' win ought to go to Cutler, who showed exactly why Chicago brought him in during the offseason to be their starting quarterback -- he's got a lot of arm, a lot of confidence, and no memory.

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