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Styf: When going gets tough, Cutler folds

Forget what you’ve heard over the past week.

Jay Cutler’s biggest problem isn’t belittling teammates.

It’s more a sign of his larger issue, folding internally when things start to go bad.

The NFL regular season is more about winning when things go wrong than when things go right.

Eli Manning and the Giants did it Sunday. His brother, Peyton, nearly came back and did it Monday night. And the Eagles and Lions did it in Week 1.

Meanwhile, Cutler wasn’t improving as last week’s game in Green Bay went on.

In Week 1, Lovie Smith praised his quarterback and team for reacting well to “adversity.” But when they encountered real adversity Thursday night, they fell apart.

Cutler, statistically, had about as bad a day as a quarterback can have with a quarterback rating of 28.2.

He threw four interceptions and his team lost, which – for a quarterback with his talent level – happens way too often.

In 80 career starts, he has thrown four or more interceptions four times. All were losses. In that same time, he’s thrown multiple interceptions 23 times. In those games, his team has won four times (or 17 percent) while being outscored 339-609.

What that shows is that a couple of bad throws takes a Cutler team out of it.

Watch a game and it’s easy to see why. He starts pressing, his decisions get worse and he tries to make up the difference too quickly.

His attitude worsens and he takes it out on his teammates.

You could blame the interception numbers on Cutler’s free-wheeling approach or his bad offensive line. But there’s plenty Cutler has done wrong, too.

Brett Favre, one of the most famous fearless quarterbacks, won 35 percent (34-64 record) of his multiple interception games.

Eli (13-23), Peyton (19-39), Philip Rivers (11-14) and Tony Romo (4-11) have fared much better when throwing multiple interceptions. Vince Young (5-9) and former Bears Kyle Orton (4-8) and Erik Kramer (3-9) have too.

Alex Smith (1-13), David Carr (1-16) and Derek Anderson (0-13) are some of the few who haven’t.

Like Cutler, Anderson ran into problems with his sideline demeanor in one of those losses. A reporter questioned why he was seen laughing on the sideline with his team down 18, and Anderson proceeded to rant about how much he cares.

“It’s not funny,” Anderson said in 2010. “Nothing’s funny to me. I don’t want to go out there and get embarrassed on ‘Monday Night Football’ in front of everybody.”

Defensive. Righteous. And far too familiar to anyone who listened to Cutler’s postgame comments Thursday night.

The pick: Cutler will recover in what will again be an up-and-down season. Bears will win a close one.

Bears 24, Rams 21

• Northwest Herald sports editor Jon Styf can be reached at jstyf@shawmedia.com.

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