Bears Opener: Bad News

This is not the Jay Cutler we signed up for

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    NEWSLETTERS

    That was fun, wasn't it? Just kidding: That was not fun at all.

    The Bears' Week 1 bout with the Green Bay Packers -- billed as the heroic Jay Cutler's ushering of a new Bears era -- was anything but. If this is a new era for the Chicago Bears, it's one in which a supposedly star quarterback can somehow play even worse than the journeyman he was traded for. The level of quarterbacking was lowered in this one, not raised. Truly, Cutler's play was a step or two below Kyle Orton. God forbid that's all we have to look forward to.

    It's not as if Cutler's entirely to blame, but given the outcome and the score, maybe he is. The Bears offense in general looked out of sync -- the offensive line was porous, the receivers were inconsistent in their route-running. But it was Cutler forcing throws in horrible positions. It was Cutler scrambling without purpose. It was Cutler chucking the ball to areas occupied only by members of the Green Bay Packers secondary. That was all Jay, and that was not what we signed up for.

    (More bad news: Brian Urlacher is out for the season, according to the Chicago Tribune. It just keeps getting better and better.)

    The final numbers were as bad as they looked: 17-of-26 for 277 yards, one touchdown, four interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 43.2. We don't like being the hundredth person to make this observation, but when Rex Grossman was going through his Good Rex, Bad Rex phases, his Bad Rex rating usually hovered right around 43.2.

    None of which would have mattered had the Bears somehow held on to win the game, but when you give so many opportunities to an effective offense like Green Bay, it doesn't matter how well your defense -- which, with the exception of the Aaron Rodgers-Greg Jennings fly route that sealed the game, acquitted itself nicely -- plays.

    There is a ton of room for improvement here, and not just with Cutler. Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner needs to find ways to get the ball into Matt Forte's hands more frequently. Greg Olsen needs to get open. Desmond Clark needs to run his routes. And so on.

    But more importantly than anyone, it's Cutler who needs to get better. It's a miracle the Bears even had a chance to win last night's game (before, of course, Cutler promptly threw a pick to Green Bay corner Al Harris). This is Cutler's show. He's the man the Bears swapped so many draft picks for, and he has to perform. If not, he has to at least not hurt the Bears' chances of winning the game. He did neither last night.

    It's only one game, but we'll be honest: We're freaking out, man.

    Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.