Bears

Bowen: Cutler-Marshall Connection Changes Everything

Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler showed off their connection Saturday night.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler showed off their connection Saturday night. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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(WSCR) With Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall teaming up in Chicago, the Bears offensive possibilities just got a whole lot more exciting.

Matt Bowen of the National Football Post and Chicago Tribune said the duo provides the offense with multiple options every time Cutler steps up to the line of scrimmage.

“Think about the second half of a football game when you have 3rd-and-7 or 3rd-and-8, those are the plays you have to make,” Bowen told The Mully and Hanley Show. “If you want to win close games in the NFL, you can’t punt in those situations. Or, if you’re talking about protecting a lead and there’s four minutes left in the game and you have 3rd-and-3 and you want to run the football. Those are the play you gotta make. When you have a quarterback that can go to the line of scrimmage and say, ‘Look, it’s 3rd-and-7, they’re playing off-coverage. I know I can throw the slant to Brandon. I know that wasn’t called in the huddle, but I like this play. I like my guy better than theirs. That’s where I’m going with the ball. We’ll move the sticks and burn another three minutes off the clock.’ It’s always those crucial plays in the second half.

LISTEN: Matt Bowen on The Mully and Hanley Show

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“When you have a quarterback that has complete control of the offense – we see it in New England, we see it in New Orleans and we see it in Green Bay – when they come to the line they say, ‘Look, I don’t like this front. I don’t like this coverage. I’m going to change this play and convert this drive for my offense and we’re going to run out the clock.’ That’s what you have with Jay.”

For the first time in Cutler’s three seasons in Chicago, the quarterback has a No. 1 target to throw to – something every quarterback needs in the NFL to win close games.

“If you’re talking about close games in the NFL, it usually comes down to about two plays in the second half,” Bowen said. “That’s what it really is. It’s either two big plays or two crucial situations. You saw the first play of the game the other night when Jay came to the line of scrimmage and saw Brandon Marshall in press coverage and said ‘I’m going to throw the ball down the field because I think my guy is better than their guy.’ Turns out, Brandon was. You can do that type of stuff.”