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Eatman: QBs Cutler, Romo Equally Helped Bears Monday Night


ARLINGTON, Texas – If you pressure him, he'll throw the ball away. And sometimes, you don't know where it's going to go.

I thought … that was the scouting report on Jay Cutler. I thought … he was the one who would get rattled by heavy pass rush and would stand in there and make a throw, regardless if it was the best decision to make.

Was there a trade before the game? Did I miss that?

Hey, I don't know where Tony Romo stands on the list of the NFL's best quarterbacks. I've always thought he was somewhere in the second group. I wasn't sure if Mr. Cutler was in there or not, but it's always been pretty close.

It wasn't on this night.

All Jay Cutler did was stand in there, take advantage of some opportunities and make plays for the Bears. The problem was … that's what Romo did as well. He made too many plays for the Bears.

It really doesn't matter if the five turnovers Romo had were all his fault or not. He's the quarterback. He gets it. He knows that, and doesn't want it any other way.

"I have to do my job," Romo said. "That's your objective in the National Football League. The No. 1 factor is taking care of the football. We have to do better in a lot of phases, but it starts with me."

We can sit here and talk about Dez Bryant running the wrong route for the first pick. Or that Kevin Ogletree played volleyball on the second one. Or that maybe the third pick that led to Lance Briggs' sprint to the end zone, was a fumble and not a pick. But the last two were forced plays and you add it all up … five turnovers is five turnovers.

If he had five touchdown passes where his guys made diving catches and one-handed grabs, we'd call it… five touchdowns.

Make no mistake, Tony Romo's play was the biggest reason the Cowboys lost this game. Can we say Jay Cutler was the biggest reason the Bears won it? Oh, you could probably say it was the Bears defense.

But we know this game comes down to quarterbacks. Either you win the game for your team., or you lose the game for your team. Or make darn sure you don't lose it for your team.

Cutler didn't lose it. He didn't throw picks. He was able to keep his feet and keep plays alive and find those open receivers. Most of the time it was Brandon Marshall doing the damage. He's seen plenty of Brandon Carr over the years when he played for Denver and Carr was with the Chiefs. Score this one for Marshall, who had seven catches on eight targets for 138 yards and the easiest touchdown he'll ever have.

But Cutler wasn't forcing anything to Marshall. He wasn't afraid to get his tight end Kellen Davis (three catches, 62 yards) involved or Devin Hester, who said earlier this week he wanted more chances on offense. He got that and made sure he took advantage with a touchdown catch. (Although I'm not 100 percent sure the ball didn't touch the ground. I know they reviewed it, but it kind of looked like the ball bounced up way too high for it not to hit the ground.)

But the point wasn't about replay booths or questionable calls. What wasn't in question was how good Cutler was for his team.

I know the offensive line for the Bears has been an issue all season, and even the last few years, but they kept him protected for the most part, only allowing two sacks.

He might be one of the more disliked players in the game. He's had a few moments in his career that are head-scratchers, but on this night, he gets the credit. He did what Romo couldn't do, and that's protect the ball for the most part, extend drives and get the ball in his receivers' hands and not the opposition's.

It'll be a long two weeks heading into the bye. And we've said that one before. What is it about this game before the bye that brings out the worst in Romo? Last year, you remember the Lions game where the Cowboys blew a 27-3 third-quarter lead with two interceptions returned for touchdowns.

So if we're counting, that's four interceptions taken to the house in these before-the-bye games.

Romo will get two weeks of the blame and rightfully so. But if there is someone offering support, it's the guy who outplayed him on the other side.

"I've had four. I think I've thrown five before," Cutler said of interceptions in a game. "It happens. He's been there. He's done it. He'll come back next week and he'll play well. They've got good coaching. They've got good players around him. He'll be fine."

Romo did bounce back from that Lions game and finished the last 12 games with only five interceptions. That's five picks in three months. Romo had five in four quarters here Monday night.

Overall, Romo had a pretty good season in 2011, but he never got past the Lions game. The Cowboys might turn things around here and Romo could have another solid season, but this game won't go away anytime soon.

Nor should it.

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