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60-second rant: Bears tough to beat when Cutler throws fewer than 35 times

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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Posted Nov. 09, 2010 @ 7:33 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

We're halfway though the season, and I think I know what to expect from the Bears in their final eight games.

They will play good defense and special teams, and the offense is a wild card that can be just good enough or really bad.

Chicago doesn't have the makings of a great team. Anyone following the league knows it won't take greatness for an NFC team to make it into the playoffs this season, though. If the pattern holds, and I'm guessing it will, limiting QB Jay Cutler's pass attempts each week could help the Bears' chances of getting to the postseason for the first time since they advanced to Super Bowl XLI.

Cutler has started and finished 22 of the 24 games the Bears have played since he joined them before last season — he left after the first half against the Giants in Week Four and missed Week Five with a concussion.

The Bears are 7-2 when he has fewer than 35 passing attempts, and they are just 4-9 when he throws 35 or more times.

As long as Chicago isn't getting blown out and forced to throw to play catch-up — and the defense is doing a good job of preventing that scenario — offensive coordinator Mike Martz has to be very mindful of the mix between the run and the pass. Letting Cutler drop back and chuck the ball over and over again while the offensive line takes a beating from pass rushers just doesn't work.

Cutler is perhaps the Bears' most dangerous weapon — he's capable of shredding a defense, but he can also sink his own team. Keeping him to around 35 passing attempts has to be the goal heading into each game. Allow the circumstances to dictate the play calls, of course, but don't abandon the ground game, even when it doesn't produce large chunks of yardage.

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