Welcome to the perfect marriage. Or the perfect disaster. Over his last 31 road contests, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is responsible for turning the rock over 39 times, or 1.26 per tilt.
Since the start of the 2014 season, the Kansas City Chiefs, Cutler’s Sunday dance partner, have forced a turnover off their opponents only 16 times over the last 20 games, or 0.8 per contest.
Hey, something’s got to give this weekend at Arrowhead. And yet The Andy Gang, yet again, just doesn’t seem to know how to … well, take.
Through four weeks, the Chiefs (1-3) have picked up all of three takeaways; among their NFL brethren, only Houston (two) and San Francisco (two) have collected fewer. And rookie cornerback Marcus Peters accounts for two thirds of those thefts — both on picks.
“Sometimes we talked about this in the preseason,” defensive coordinator Bob Sutton told reporters earlier this week. “In camp we say, ‘Look, hey, sometimes you’re not playing the way you want to play, but what you need to be able to do (is), you need to be able to make one big stop in a game or one big takeaway in a game to secure the victory or win the game.’ And no matter what else has happened in that game, if you do that, you’re getting the most important thing that we want. And those are those letters, those Ws.”
Sutton knows. Andy Reid knows, too. In a game of elites, the best of the best, fine margins, more often than not, wind up having a huge influence. Explosion plays. Special teams. Short fields. Turnovers. Turnovers. Turnovers.
The digits don’t lie:
--The 2013 Chiefs: 2.4 takeaways per contest, 2nd in the NFL. Eleven up, five down.
--The 2014 Chiefs: 0.9 takeaways per contest, 30th in the loop. Nine up, seven down.
--The 2015 Chiefs: 0.8 takeaways per contest, 28th in the circuit. One up, three down.
Strip and rip, you flip the field, you flip momentum, you stick a dagger up the other team’s spine. What’s telling — and obvious to most Chiefs faithful — is the Reid teams here that haven’t forced the issue have a won-loss record that shows the other side of the coin: 10-10.
Enter Cutler, health permitting, the Windy City’s latest punchline and piñata. Enter Chicago, a leaky 1-3 that, on paper, sets up as possibly the perfect remedy. The Bears have given it away 35 times over THEIR last 20 tilts, at a clip of almost 1.8 per contest.
Which begs the question: What happens when the imminently resistible force runs headlong into the easily moveable object? For better or worse, ya get the feeling we’re all about to find out.