Christmas came early this year. Jay Cutler is back.
The present, however, isn’t one for the Chicago Bears. This is just what the Green Bay Packers need in hopes of making the playoffs.
It’s clear now, the Packers aren’t stopping anyone offensively. But what they can do is be given the football.
Tony Romo proved that Sunday, giving Green Bay the football twice in the last 3 minutes, which led to a miraculous 37-36 come-from-behind victory in Big D.
And while Romo’s specialty is turning the ball over in December, Cutler specializes in that feat year round.
If the Packers find a way to win Sunday at home against Pittsburgh, the NFC North title will be decided - barring the Lions don’t win out - between the Packers and Bears in Chicago in the regular-season finale.
And the second-biggest factor aside from Aaron Rodgers’ health – still no word if he plays against Pittsburgh – is what team Cutler decides to throw to.
In his return Sunday, Cutler threw two interceptions, which led to this post-game scene, as reported by ESPN’s Jon Greenberg.
"Like I said, the first one was on me," Marshall said after a wild 38-31 victory over the Cleveland Browns. "The second one, that was just Jay, he just sucked on that one."
Cutler was in the room at the time. If the Bears had lost, it would've been an awkward scene. But the Bears won, and the mood was light.
As he heard Marshall's honest words, Cutler gave a quick affirmative nod. The room erupted with laughter.
The Packers may be lucky it’s Cutler starting and not Josh McCown.
Starting for Cutler, McCown was 3-2 with 13 touchdowns to three turnovers (1 interception, 2 fumbles in seven games played).
In nine games this season, Cutler is 5-4 with 13 turnovers (10 interceptions, three fumbles) and 16 touchdowns.
Last season he had 21 turnovers and 19 touchdowns in 15 games.
Throughout his career in Chicago, Cutler has 100 turnovers (73 interceptions, 27 fumbles) and 98 touchdowns in 65 games. That’s 1.5 turnovers per game.
Comparably, Rodgers in the last five seasons, has 157 touchdowns to 57 turnovers (36 INTs, 21 fumbles).
In other words, Cutler is really good at turning the ball over – 152 career touchdowns passes, 145 turnovers - and that’s just what Green Bay will need to win, because the defense certainly can’t stop anyone, unless its’s given the ball.
So, here we are with two games to go in the season (three for Detroit) with the Bears, Packers and Lions all within a half game of each other for the NFC North title.
The Bears (8-6) are a half-game ahead of Green Bay (7-6-1), while Detroit (7-6) plays at Baltimore tonight. If the Lions win, they’ll also be a half game up on the Packers (7-6-1), and there won’t be a tiebreaker, because of Green Bay’s tie with Minnesota.
Chicago appears to have the easiest Week 16, playing at Philadelphia, while Detroit hosts the N.Y. Giants. The Lions finish the season at Minnesota.
But this is the NFL, so who knows who has the easiest road. The Adrian Peterson-less Vikings just put 48 on the Eagles, so the Lions may be in for a battle against the lowly Giants and Vikings.
All we do know, Cutler should have at least one turnover, and probably one other in which he pouts about, blaming a receiver or offensive lineman for missing an assignment.