Bears Must Find Way to Protect Cutler

Chicago's offensive line has given up 11 sacks in the season's first two games. As a result, the passing game is struggling mightily. Can anything be done to remedy this long-standing issue?

If the Bears couldn't pressure Drew Brees in a 30-13 loss to the Saints in which their quarterback compiled a 118.1 passer rating, it's almost frightening to think what Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers might due in Week 3.

The Bears can't feel very optimistic on the other side of the ball either. They allowed their own quarterback, Jay Cutler, to be sacked six times and hurried many other times against a Saints defense that comes with some exotic blitzes but doesn't have anyone the caliber of Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, when it comes to getting after the passer.

The Saints blitzed everyone except defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, and too often the Bears were either overwhelmed by numbers or just didn't make their blocks.

QB Jay Cutler
Chuck Cook/US Presswire

But, when you run the ball 12 times all day and just two times in the entire second half, it's easy for the opposing defense to send everyone but the Maytag repairman after the quarterback. In the fourth quarter, the Bears didn't run the ball at all.

Cutler was asked if the Bears need to run the ball more to keep the blitzing wolves at bay.

"I don't know, you have to talk to (offensive coordinator) Mike (Martz) about that," he said. "You get in a hole like we were, down two or three scores, you're going to have to throw the ball a little bit. I think we have to get Matt (Forte) going early on. We have to set the tone with him and get the ball to him because he's obviously one of our better players."

On his second carry of the game, Forte busted loose for 42 yards. He had just eight more carries for the rest of the game, finishing with 49 yards on 10 attempts, in addition to 117 more yards on 10 receptions.

Part of the reason Forte had so many receptions is because even when Cutler wasn't buried by the pass rush, he had to dump the ball off quickly to avoid another sack.

The offensive line is a long way from a finished product, and it was missing Lance Louis, the opening-day starter at right guard, who was out with a sprained ankle and replaced by Chris Spencer. In the second quarter, right tackle Gabe Carimi suffered a knee injury and was replaced by Frank Omiyale. The ear-splitting crowd noise didn't help.

"It's not near where we need to be," center Roberto Garza said. "It's not acceptable. We knew what they were going to do, we just have to get it done and we didn't do that. (Cutler) took some hard hits, and that falls on our shoulders."

That load could get a lot heavier this week.

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