Jay Cutler’s an easy guy to hate.
And admit it, you really want to.
You hate him when he’s whining at the refs, when he’s calling timeouts and complaining at the fans for being too loud, and especially when he’s throwing for touchdowns the wrong way like he did early in Sunday’s rout of the Colts.
And you really hate him when, prompted after the game, he stood behind a podium with his skater hoodie on and lectured the Soldier Field fans.
“Please, please, please, let’s tone it down a little bit when we’re inside the 20,” Cutler said. “You’re more than welcome to yell and scream and do whatever you want to do after we score. But, let’s quiet the stadium down and save it for after we score. Thank you. That’s my PSA.”
Nothing he said was wrong, everything about how he said it was.
But he’s yours, warts and all, so love him for it.
And love that he takes that same attitude on the field.
He takes chances, doesn’t care what anyone thinks, and he is the only Bears player who can lead this team back to the playoffs and beyond.
He showed both sides Sunday. Early he was forcing the ball and making mistakes and later he was putting the ball in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery’s hands even when they were double covered.
Cutler has all the tools to be great, and all the personality traits to be considered a tool.
He’s truly fearless about his throws and confident in his abilities, even the ability to fake audible and throw off a defense.
“Sometimes we’re going up there gesturing and motioning and giving signals just to give signals,” Cutler said. “We just want to keep them honest and keep attacking them.”
A real audible led to his best throw of the game. He audibled Marshall to change routes on a fourth-quarter play, causing the safety to cheat his way, and tossed a perfectly timed 42-yard touchdown pass to Jeffery over the top.
“Jay drew it up perfectly,” Marshall said.
Ultimately, Cutler beat a bad team. And he did it by putting the ball in a spot where his receivers – more talented than he’s had before – can make a play on it, even though they “left some out there,” according to Marshall.
Coach Lovie Smith simply called Cutler’s early mistakes “adversity.”
“Believe me, we get quarterback play like that and we’re going to win a lot of football games,” Smith said.
Throughout, Cutler remained confident, something Marshall calls his “best attribute.”
If only he could get those Bears fans he talked down to after the game to have confidence in him.
• Jon Styf is the sports editor at the Northwest Herald. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @jonstyf.