THE MORNING AFTER: To start a comeback victory, cue McPhee


Pernell McPhee on defense against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on October 11th.

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KANSAS CITY – The attention around the position never fails to disappoint when it comes to exaggeration.

Funny how Jay Cutler is a bit of a hero for what seemed like a lost Bears’ team just two weeks ago.

Following his second 4th quarter game-winning drive in as many weeks the praise is being heaped onto the signalcaller after spending most of his careerbeing maligned by Chicago fans and even some of his own players.

You know what-he deserves the praise.

Still not full healed from a hamstring injury, Cutler managed to once again overcome a mistake (fumble in the endzone for a touchdown in the first quarter that could be blamed just as much on bad blocking) and make up for it when it matters most. He threw not one but two impressive touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to turn a certain defeat to the Chiefs into a thrilling 18-17 victory.

On the scoring throw to Marquess Wilson Cutler put the throw right on his shoulder and over a pair of defenders before reaching the back of the endzone. The game-winning toss to Forte with 18 seconds left came after the ball hit the ground on the snap and a defender at his feet.

This came after Cutler overcame a fourth-quarter interception against the Raiders last week to lead the Bears downfield for a game-winning field goal at Soldier Field.

“I knew we needed to make some plays in the fourth quarter,” said Cutler when asked about his play improving in pressure situations the last two weeks. “I knew that all I needed to do was get the ball out to them and they will do most of the hard work. So a lot of it depends on them.”

But to get there depended on someone else. He’s not in the spotlight like Cutler but at the same time he doesn’t seem to mind it either.

He is apart of the new group of Bears to come in with John Fox, Ryan Pace and Vic Fangio. The jewel of the first free agency signing period for this newest era of the team is hell bent on trying to put the “Monsters” back in the “Monsters of the Midway” cliche.

In training camp he boasted the Bears  “need to be aggressive. We need to be the attackers, not the ones being attacked.” He’s kept up that mantra over the season.

The last two Sundays, however, Pernell McPhee has truly exemplified that spirit.

Last week it was eight tackles and a key late first half interception that helped the Bears to their first win of the season. McPhee did even more at Arrowhead Stadium despite the fact he only registered a pair of tackles for the game.

In the second quarter he stifled some of Kansas City’s momentum with a critical sack on third-and-five to end a Chiefs’ drive in Bears’ territory. The play kept things from getting out of hand. His next one gave the Bears a fair shake at a victory.

Early in the third quarter Cairo Santos appeared ready to boot the Kansas City lead to 17 but McPhee burst through the middle of the field goal block and got a paw on the kick. Instead of three points the Chiefs came up with zero and the Bears had new life. A chip shot 27-yarder wasn’t something McPhee was ready to give up and his play turned the tide of a game.

“There’s all kinds of ebbs and flows in games and shifts in momentum so that was, yeah, a big one that stands out,” said Fox of the block.

With an added boost and, to be fair, the injury to Chiefs’ running back Jamaal Charles, the Bears seized the momentum. The defense held the Charles-less Kansas City offense to just 59-yards for the rest of the game and just a single first down.

The offense managed to scrape together a field goal in the possession following McPhee’s block and then had the Cutler heroics late in the fourth quarter to steal a victory.

“That’s all about defense being a part of the whole team,” said Jarvis Jenkins of the defense’s spark to the offense. “The defense needs to give the offense opportunities. The offense had some struggles, but we kept giving them the ball and they got their mojo back.

“They started progressing and it paid off in the end.”

Just don’t forget the aggressive guy who helped create the new beginning on this Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium.


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