Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has been in the news recently due to his divorce with Kristin Cavallari along with the Bears releasing never before seen gameday audio from the former quarterback. Although Cutler’s eight-year career with the Bears was a disappointment as the team never won a Super Bowl, the quarterback did provide some memorable moments. Chicago’s former quarterback is arguably one of the most polarizing players the Bears have ever had, but it’s what Cutler did in 2015 that demonstrated his dedication to the city and the sport.
When looking back at the 2015 Chicago Bears’ season, there was nothing memorable about the team as they had a 6-10 record. It was John Fox’s first year as Bears head coach as Chicago underwent a rebuild following the massive failure of Phil Emery and Marc Trestman the year before. Cutler was an MVP favorite and had received a record-breaking contract extension in January of 2014. Chicago was picked as a Super Bowl contender before the start of the 2014 season, but by season’s end, Trestman would bench his quarterback to save his job. When new general manager Ryan Pace took over in 2015, he tried to trade Cutler during the offseason but was unable to.
To make matters worse for the 2015 season, Chicago had numerous players at the skill positions sustain nagging injuries throughout the season. Cutler never once had his top three receivers in Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White, and Eddie Royal on the field together during the season. White missed the whole season due to a stress fracture, Jeffery battled soft tissue injuries missing seven games, and Royal battled injuries while being forced to play out of position.
Given all the issues that plagued the offense and the team’s desire to move on from him, Cutler still had his best season with Chicago in 2015 and nearly had them in the playoffs. Following a bad showing in the first two games, in which he threw two crucial interceptions that influence the outcome of both games, Chicago’s quarterback would respond in week four after being sidelined with a hamstring injury. With the team’s record at 0-3, Cutler led the Bears offense on a last-minute game-winning drive in which resulted in Robbie Gould kicking the winning field goal against the Oakland Raiders.
The following week against the playoff-caliber Kansas City Chiefs, Cutler led the Bears on a fourth quarterback as the team trailed 17-6 late. He would connect on two touchdown passes in the last four minutes, including the game-winning touchdown pass to running back Matt Forte with just seconds left in the game. Chicago went on to win the game 18-17. The Bears would go 3-5 over their next eight games as all the losses were decided by six points or less. Three of those games were decided by a field goal or less. During that eight-game span, Cutler would throw ten touchdowns and four interceptions while being one of the main reasons why Chicago was competitive in those games. Against Detroit, Minnesota, Washington, and San Francisco, the Bears either lost late in regulation or overtime due to defensive or kicking mistakes.
In early December of 2015, many forget that Cutler played during a trying personal situation as his brother-in-law went missing after being last seen on November 27th. Following a search that lasted two weeks, Michael Callavari was found dead on December 10th due to hypothermia as his death was ruled accidental. Cutler took no time off and missed no playing time during the two weeks as with the bears’ wins in November, Chicago had an outside chance of making the playoffs.
Following a 1-3 stretch in December that ended their playoff hopes, The Bears hosted the Detroit Lions in the final game of the season. The game was significant for Cutler because leading up to this game had not had one multi-interception game, and had only thrown eight interceptions on the season so far. The Bears quarterback would play the game with the team’s top three wide receivers and top two tight ends on injured reserve. Culter played with wide receivers and tight ends such as Cameron Meredith, Josh Bellamy, Marc Mariani, Deonte Thompson, Rob Housler, and Khari Lee. Chicago would lose 24-20 with Cutler finishing the game with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Two of his interceptions were caused by defenders hitting him as he threw. Cutler would finish the season with 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 92.3, which would be the highest of his career.
For his success as offensive coordinator with Cutler, the Miami Dolphins hired Gase within a week following the season finale. Given all that had transpired with the front office following 2014 along with the injuries to his supporting cast, Cutler put that all aside. The 2015 Bears season was supposed to be an expected disappointment before the season even started, but the quarterback that the team didn’t believe in, gave them a fighting chance to where the team was competing for the playoffs at the start of December. Fans can criticize Cutler’s failure to live up to expectations, but they can’t criticize his love of the game and his team, demonstrated in 2015