In Limited Defense of Jay Cutler

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Football is a ridiculously complicated sport, so when I see a pile-on I try to look for contrary evidence. Here are a couple things about last night.

1. Bears net yards rushing = 43. Bears penalty yards = 75.

2. Cutler threw fifty-two times in a 10-6 game.

3. Football Outsiders, part of the Baseball Prospectus family of stat geeks, has compelling offensive line statistics that suggest the Bears' O-line is below average - whereas Denver's, where Kyle Orton is having a better season than Cutler, is well above average. From my limited observation, it seems like Chicago's left side is particularly weak.

4. If you look at the Football Outsiders stats above, you'll find that Chicago is next-to-last in the NFL in carries (Denver is 10th), which puts a ton of pressure on Cutler. The team with the least carries is Philadelphia; they're much more efficient when they do run. According to the FO stats, Matt Forte is the lowest-ranked definite #1 starting back in the NFL.

So there's a lot broken about this team. Cutler isn't playing well most of the time, obviously, but the other problems make the Bears heavily reliant on him even when he's not playing well.

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