Did Cutler run read-option against Saints?

Posted Oct 8, 2013

Larry discusses whether Jay Cutler ran a read-option play versus the Saints, why the Bears didn't throw a Hail Mary pass on the last play of the first half and the Bears' record on Thursday Night Football.

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on

In Sunday's loss to the Saints, Jay Cutler ran around right end for a big gain. Was that the first time the Bears have run a read-option play this season?

Paul F.
Bozeman, Montana

That actually was not a read-option play; it was just quick thinking by quarterback Jay Cutler. The Bears had a run called and when Cutler saw that the Saints were clogging the middle of the field with defenders, he decided to fake the handoff and sprint to the outside, picking up 12 yards. Said Cutler: "That wasn't designed. They had us dialed up pretty good and I just snuck around the edge. I didn't expect to get that far. It just kind of worked out that way. I was just trying to kind of salvage the play a little bit." That was the second time in the game that Cutler ad-libbed like that. On first-and-goal from the New Orleans 4, he opted to throw instead of handing off. The pass was incomplete and guard Kyle Long was penalized for being illegally downfield because the play was supposed to be a run. Said coach Marc Trestman: "Jay saw a safety coming into the gap, and looking back at it he should have handed the ball off and stayed with the play or changed it.  But he pulled the ball thinking he could get rid of the ball before Kyle went downfield."

Why didn't the Bears throw a Hail Mary pass on the final play of the first half against the Saints? What was the point of throwing over the middle?

Ron T.
Schaumburg, Illinois

Jay Cutler made that decision based on the Saints defense. The Bears had the ball at the New Orleans 44 with :02 left in the half and the Saints dropped most of their defenders into the end zone. Said Cutler: "They had everyone down there. I was just trying to kind of bide some time, got flushed out of there. I didn't really have a good feel for where their guys were, saw Alshon [Jeffery] in my view, just thought I'd get it to him, maybe if he'd bust a tackle and catch a block he'd get in."

What is the Bears' record on Thursday Night Football?

Steve D.
Des Plaines, Illinois

The Bears are 4-4 on Thursday night. Interestingly, they've only played one of those games at home, a 27-24 overtime win over the Saints on Dec. 11, 2008. They lost their only Thursday night game last year to the Packers 23-10 in Green Bay.

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