There is no question that Chicago Bears backup quarterback Josh McCown has played well for the Bears this season. The impressive streak of play continued for McCown on Sunday in the Bears victory against the Baltimore Ravens.
While McCown certainly should be credited for his part in the Bears victory on Sunday, had Cutler been healthy and playing, the Bears likely would not have needed overtime to secure a victory against the Ravens.
There was one series in particular where Cutler’s impact on the team was missed. That series came in the second quarter when the Bears offense faced a first and goal situation at the Ravens six-yard line. Beginning with that play, the Bears had six opportunities to score a touchdown. Of those six opportunities, five of them were of the passing variety. All five passes were incomplete. The fifth incomplete pass came on a back-shoulder throw to Brandon Marshall in the end-zone. Marshall was unable to maintain possession while in bounds. That throw alone showed why Cutler is the starting quarterback and McCown is the backup quarterback. That throw is a throw that Cutler has perfected with Marshall. While no one can say for sure, chances are Marshall would have came down with the throw in the end-zone had it been Cutler that thrown it.
There were also plays that McCown simply left on the field. On the same series for the Bears offense, McCown missed a wide-open Martellus Bennett in the end-zone for a touch down. Later in the game, McCown didn’t see an open Marshall that was coming across the field for what would have been an easy first down.
This is not meant as a slight towards McCown. McCown has been perfect in his role with the Bears. But the fact of the matter is that McCown has needed to be perfect in the games that he has played with the Bears this season. Chances are that had McCown made a turn over in the Bears game on Sunday, the team would have lost to the Ravens.
But fans clamoring for McCown to be the starting quarterback over Cutler need to take their anti-Cutler goggles off. Because chances are those are the same fans that were critical of Kyle Orton. Orton, especially in his time with the Bears, and McCown are cut from the same cloth. Both quarterbacks will avoid making mistakes but neither quarterback will be aggressive in times that call for the quarterback to be aggressive. With the way the NFL is trending in recent seasons, teams need that quarterback that is willing to be aggressive. Cutler is an aggressive quarterback.
Above anything else, Sunday proved that McCown is not willing to be aggressive. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact, that is what makes McCown a perfect backup quarterback. But Sunday also proved why Cutler is the starting quarterback and McCown is the backup quarterback.