CHICAGO — Jay Cutler has become accustomed to running for his life, but his scrambles on Sunday had nothing to do with poor play up front and set up some of the biggest plays during the Bears' 24-21 win over the Bengals.
“The two plays that really resonate with me offensively were Jay’s scramble, hitting Martellus for the big gain. Then Jay scrambling. … we had a throw to Brandon [Marshall], they covered it well, Jay found a lane and got ourselves in position to make a first down,” head coach Marc Trestman said.
In the third quarter, the Bears faced a third-and-7 from their own 35-yard line. Cutler evaded the pressure, moved to his right and appeared ready to take off. But right before the line of scrimmage, Cutler found Martellus Bennett with plenty of green in front of him.
Bennett turned it into a 30-yard gain, and the Bears scored a touchdown five plays later.
In the fourth quarter, facing a second-and-20 after a holding penalty, Cutler ran again. This time, he found a gap up the gut and took it for 18 yards. He hit Brandon Marshall for the go-ahead touchdown three plays later.
“The two runs and the scrambles on third down were really as key plays as you get in the game because they allowed us to continue both drives,” Trestman said.
Cutler also had a play where he scrambled right, saw nothing, reversed fields back left and hit Matt Forte for a 24-yard gain. Cutler’s legs helped create three of the Bears’ longest seven plays. The offensive line helped keep Cutler clean, and his runs helped the line.
"The line likes that when I’m able to break the pocket and make some yardage and find somebody on the move," he said. "It takes some pressure off them."
No Pressure: With 7:58 to go in the game, the Bears put Andy Dalton on his back for the first and only time in the game, when Shea McClellin sacked him. The lack of pressure up front helped give Dalton the time to make big plays to A.J. Green.
Paea penetration: While the D-line didn’t do its job in terms of a pass rush, it won the battles against the run, mainly led by Stephen Paea. He had six tackles, including two assists on tackles for loss. Two of his tackles stopped BenJarvus Green-Ellis for one-yard gains.
Up-and-down debut: Martellus Bennett dropped a pass on the first play of the game. “Jittery, first game, Soldier Field, anxious,” he said. Bennett made up for it with a highlight-reel touchdown catch in the first quarter. He then had the 30-yard catch-and-run on Cutler’s scramble, but was also flagged for two holding penalties.