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Why didn't Cutler slide on run in Pittsburgh?

Posted Sep 24, 2013

Larry discusses why Jay Cutler didn't slide on a scramble in Pittsburgh, why the Bears didn't challenge a play that looked like a touchdown and why Charles Tillman sat out late in the game.

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 ChicagoBears.com.

Why didn't Jay Cutler slide on his run late in Sunday night's game in Pittsburgh? He really got popped on the play and the last thing the Bears need is an injury to their starting quarterback.

Pete S.
Downers Grove, Illinois

Jay Cutler normally slides when he scrambles. But on the play you're referring to, the Bears faced third-and-10 from their own 26 after the Steelers had scored 13 unanswered points to cut their deficit from 27-10 to 27-23 early in the fourth quarter. Cutler didn't slide because he wanted to make sure he picked up the first down and sustain the drive. Here's what he said about the play after the game: "Whenever you slide usually it goes back to the point at where you start to slide. I just wanted to make sure I picked it up. We were struggling on third down in the second half so I wanted to make sure we kept the drive going. We were up four at that point. So I just wanted to stay on the field and make sure we got another crack at it." Cutler eventually capped the drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Earl Bennett, increasing the Bears' lead to 34-23.

I thought Michael Bush broke the plane of the goal line on all three of his runs from the 1-yard line in the first half against the Steelers. I know the Bears challenged the third down play, but why didn't they challenge the first one, which looked even more like a TD to me?

Ray T.
Terre Haute, Indiana

I agree with you that Michael Bush broke the plane on all three runs. I jokingly asked him after the game if he had ever scored three touchdowns on the same possession before. Coach Marc Trestman explained Monday why he didn't challenge the first down play, saying: "We talked about it, but there was nothing conclusive from the guys upstairs that would force us to do that, and we had two or three more downs to go, so it wasn't as if the feeling was we needed that challenge. We felt we could get the score on the next three downs, so if it wasn't conclusive upstairs, we were not going to challenge."

I haven't heard anything about why Charles Tillman didn't play late in Sunday night's game against the Steelers. Was his knee bothering him?

Ross K.
Wheeling, Illinois

It wasn't his knee. Charles Tillman was held out late in Sunday night's game as a precaution after he experienced groin tightness. Coach Marc Trestman said that Tillman likely will not practice on Wednesday, but the Bears are optimistic that Tillman will be able to play against Calvin Johnson and the Lions Sunday in Detroit.

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