Cutler leaves with ankle injury in 21-19 Bears’ loss
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter November 10, 2013 1:15PM
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Updated: November 10, 2013 10:00PM
With each second-half snap, Jay Cutler was more in pain and less effective.
His left ankle — down his leg from the torn groin he suffered Oct. 20 against the Redskins — was rolled over by a Lions defender just before halftime.
Cutler was taped up, but it did little good. By the time Cutler and the Bears realized his leg was hurt as badly as it was, it was too late.
Josh McCown rallied the Bears to a touchdown on their final drive, but they couldn’t convert either of two two-point conversion tries in a 21-19 loss Sunday at Soldier Field.
McCown threw an incomplete pass on the first try with 40 seconds left, but the Bears got a second chance when the Lions’ Willie Young was penalized for roughing McCown.
Needing only a yard to tie the score, the Bears failed to pick it up when the Lions stuffed Matt Forte on a run up the middle. The result left the Bears (5-4) a game behind the Lions (6-3) in the NFC North race.
X-rays on Cutler’s ankle were negative, and he said it was too soon to speculate on his availability for the game next week against the Baltimore Ravens.
‘‘[It] got worse and worse,’’ Cutler said. ‘‘If anything, I thought coming into this I might aggravate my groin a little bit and have to fight through that. I never thought that I’d roll my ankle on the same side and have to fight through that. And that, ultimately, would be the one that would knock me out of this game.’’
Ineffectiveness chased him from the game, too, though coach Marc Trestman said he preferred McCown be the one to scramble and avoid pressure in the two-minute drill.
Cutler completed 21 of 40 passes for 250 yards, but only nine completions came in the second half. He stayed in because trainers thought he couldn’t hurt himself any more, Trestman said.
The Bears removed plays that required Cutler to move around from their game plan.
‘‘He had all kinds of stings going on with him from his waist down,’’ receiver Brandon Marshall said.
Cutler started off hot, throwing a 32-yard touchdown pass to Marshall on the Bears’ fifth offensive play. Marshall, who also caught an 11-yard scoring pass from McCown with 40 seconds left to pull the Bears to 21-19, had a game-high 139 receiving yards on seven catches.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was 18-for-35 for 219 yards, countered with a five-yard touchdown pass to Kris Durham to tie the score at 7.
The tie held through halftime when Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh tipped a slant pass by Cutler into linebacker DeAndre Levy’s arms for an end-zone interception with 24 seconds left in the first half.
Lions receiver Calvin Johnson scored twice in the second half, the first time on a four-yard catch in the third quarter that was preceded by a 39-yard run by Reggie Bush and the second time on a 14-yard fade with 2:22 left that put the Lions up 21-13.
Cutler drove the Bears to only two second-half field goals before giving way to McCown, who found the end zone on his only drive.
‘‘I didn’t feel like I could make some of the throws I wanted to make,’’ Cutler said. ‘‘Couldn’t move around. Couldn’t be as mobile as the game went on.’’