Jay Cutler + Red Zone = Disaster

When Chicago acquired Jay Cutler from the Denver Broncos this offseason, it was all Bear fans could do from booking their plane tickets to Miami. They figured that since they finally had a franchise quarterback under center and that the offensive line had improved, there’s no way Da Bears wouldn’t challenge for a Super Bowl berth.

Then the games actually started and now they’re starting to realize that there’s a reason why the Broncos never got to the playoffs with Cutler as their quarterback.

Cutler threw a mind-boggling five interceptions in the Bears’ 10-6 loss to the 49ers on Thursday night. Not all of those picks were his fault, as Devin Hester fell down on one pass, the ref got in the way on another and San Francisco safety Mark Roman may have gotten away with interference on yet another.

But that doesn’t excuse Cutler for throwing two horrendous interceptions in the red zone – an area in which he continues to struggle this season – to kill drives. It’s almost like whenever Chicago reaches that spot of the field, Cutler breaks out into a cold sweat and forgets how to play. He’s so deathly afraid of the red zone that Lovie Smith might as well trot kicker Robbie Gould onto the field and take three points because there’s a good chance Cutler is going to throw a pick.

Read the rest of this entry »

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Bears capitalize on Reed’s missed field goals

If there’s one thing I can’t stand in football, it’s when a kicker can’t make a field goal (or two field goals) in the fourth quarter and it costs his team a chance to win.

Pittsburgh kicker Jeff Reed missed field goals of 38 and 43 yards in the fourth quarter of the Steelers’ 17-14 loss to the Bears, the second of which gave Chicago a chance to win. The field was slick and the turf at Solider Field didn’t do Reed any favors, but Chicago kicker Robbie Gould didn’t have any problem with the conditions as he booted the game-winning 44-yard field goal with just 15 seconds remaining.

Reed choked, plain and simple. That said, I would be doing the Bear faithful a disservice if I didn’t give credit where credit is due. Coming off his brutal four interception night in Green Bay last week, Jay Cutler was excellent against the Steelers on Sunday, throwing for 236 yards and two touchdowns on 27 of 38 passing. He was also 3 for 3 on Chicago’s final scoring drive.

On a day where Pittsburgh took away Matt Forte and the Bears’ rushing attack, Cutler played a near-flawless game while rookie receiver Johnny Knox (6 rec., 70 yards, 1 TD) stepped up in the passing game. If Cutler and Knox can continue to develop chemistry, the Bears’ receiving corps won’t be as bad off as everyone thought.

While the Bears’ defense was certainly aided by Reed’s failures, Chicago did a nice job bottling up Willie Parker (14 carries, 47 yards) and keeping the Steelers out of the end zone in the fourth quarter. They still have some issues in the secondary and they didn’t generate the same pass rush as they did last week in Green Bay, but this is the second week in a row that the Bears’ defense gave the offense an opportunity to win the game.

Even though it’s early, this was a huge win for Lovie Smith’s Bears.

Top 10 active NFL field goal percentage leaders

It’s almost fantasy football time, and many of you, like me, have already been doing your research. So let’s take a look at a category that you may not pay much attention to, and many experts will tell you not to anyway. That’s field goal percentage. I realize choosing a kicker is like throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks, but good references are to pick those on good offensive teams, or those that can’t score TDs and create more field goal attempts. But it’s also good to pick an accurate kicker, whether that kicker plays in a dome or not. I mean, why take your chances on someone who kicks 25 field goals but misses another 25? So here is a list of the active Top 10 in field goal percentage. You can thank me later.

1. Nick Folk, Dallas Cowboys (86.79%)—For as good as Folk’s rookie season was in 2007, he had less attempts but was even more accurate in 2008, kicking 20 of 22 field goals (90.9%). Which reminds me, what the hell ever happened to Mike Vanderjagt?

2. Nate Kaeding, San Diego Chargers (86.13%)—Sure, he kicks mostly in warm weather, but Kaeding is about as automatic as they come.

3. Robbie Gould, Chicago Bears (85.94%)—If you’re hitting better than 17 out of 20 times when your home field is in the WINDY city, you’re damn good.

4. Shayne Graham, Cincinnati Bengals (85.64%)—One of the lone bright spots on a team that is perpetually going nowhere.

5. Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots (85.56%)—No Adam Vinatieri? No problem. This kid stepped in as a rookie in 2006 and has improved each year, hitting 36 of 40 field goal attempts last season (90%) and leading the NFL in total points (148).

6. Rob Bironas, Tennessee Titans (84.50%)—Bironas is extremely dependable, but nothing topped his 2007 All-Pro campaign, when dude kicked an NFL record 8 field goals against Houston.

7. Matt Stover, free agent (83.70%)—The amazing thing about Stover is that he’s been doing it for so long. He broke in with the Browns in 1991 and moved with the team to Baltimore in 1996, where he played until last season.

8. Phil Dawson, Cleveland Browns (82.81%)—One of the original “expansion” Browns, Dawson, like his counterpart Graham in southern Ohio, has been a bright spot on a bad team for years.

9. Jeff Reed, Pittsburgh Steelers (82.65%)—Every year they seem to talk about how hard it is to kick in Heinz Field, so the fact that Jeff Reed is even on this list says a lot about his ability. I’d love to know what the guy could do playing in Minnesota for a year.

10. John Carney, free agent (82.59%)—Carney stepped in for Lawrence Tynes last season and all he did was hit 35 of 38 field goal attempts, an amazing 92.1% clip. It’s even more amazing because Carney played half his games in windy Giants Stadium, and because he did it at the age of 44.

Source: Pro Football Reference

Related Posts