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Marshall says Cutler has ‘clutch gene’

Posted by Larry Mayer on October 31, 2012 – 2:39 pm

Receiver Brandon Marshall solicited nicknames from the Chicago media Wednesday to describe Jay Cutler’s ability to perform at a high level late in games.

The Bears quarterback leads the NFL with a fourth-quarter passer rating of 132.0, ahead of the Broncos’ Peyton Manning (119.6) and the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers (110.6).

“A couple weeks ago I was trying to figure out a name,” Marshall said. “I texted him over a few nicknames like ‘The Closer’ and ‘Ace.’ I’m trying to figure out a nickname for him, so if you guys can help me out, I’d appreciate it. Jay’s one of those guys where he has that clutch gene. You hear guys talk about it and some believe in it, some don’t. But Jay has it.”

Cutler demonstrated that gene last Sunday when he led the Bears to a 23-22 comeback win over the Carolina Panthers. Trailing 19-7 midway through the fourth quarter, he threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kellen Davis and then set up Robbie Gould’s game-winning 41-yard field goal as time expired by engineering a nine-play, 55-yard drive.

In the first three quarters, Cutler completed only 7 of 14 passes for 80 yards with one interception, two lost fumbles and six sacks. In the fourth period, he connected on 12 of 14 passes for 106 yards with one touchdown and a 122.0 rating.

“We know what [Cutler] can do,” said center Roberto Garza. “If you give him time, he can connect with those big-time receivers that we have out there. We’ve been practicing that [two-minute drill] since we started training camp, getting the work in, and it obviously paid off.”

Part of Cutler’s success in the fourth quarter this season can be attributed to the Bears protecting leads against defenses that are stacking the box to try to stop the run.

“Our defense is putting us in positions where we’re leading games and [opponents] are trying to get the ball back, [playing] a lot of single high [safety], which makes it a lot easier on the outside throwing the ball,” Cutler said. “We’ve hit some big plays out there. The way our defense is playing and carrying leads into the fourth quarter makes my job easier.”

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