The Chicago Bears pass protection gave Jay Cutler all day to throw throughout most of the afternoon in the Bears' season opening win over the Indianapolis Colts. Cutler was sacked on the very first play of the game when the Bears went play action and Kellen Davis got beat on an inside rush by Robert Mathis, but things settled down there after.
Settled down may be an understatement as Cutler was able to stand in the pocket and rifle the ball down the field on more than one occasion. When Cutler has time to set his feet, he has the most dynamic arm in the NFL, and he showed it today.
Cutler was barely pressured all day, and the result was Cutler going 21 out of 35 for 333 yards and two touchdowns.
How good was the protection? Cutler was hit a total of five times in the game, two sacks allowed and three QB hits on the day. Compared to years past the offensive line kept Cutler clean and upright and he was able to to deliver the football down the field.
On two particular plays Cutler really had time to survey the field to throw a touchdown to Jeffery and hit a big pass that led to a touchdown to Hester.
The Hester play had Cutler drop back to pass, scan the field and then step up and into a throw to Hester. The term laser is often used to describe the precise and direct nature of a pass, and this pass was a 26-yard laser beam throw.
The way Cutler stepped up and set his feet to deliver the ball to Hester was incredible and it was a result of the protection in the pocket he had.
On the play-action pass to Alshon Jeffery it was even more impressive as Cutler faked the hand-off to Forte then stood back and watched as the rookie streaked past two defenders towards the endzone. Cutler then wound up and delivered an over the top bomb to Jeffery two yards short of the back of the endzone.
Any doubts about the rookie receiver's ability were erased with one throw and a simple over the shoulder catch.
The touchdown was a warning to the rest of the NFL, the pass protection is better, and when Cutler he has time to throw he can make bigger and better throws than any QB in the NFL.