Watching tape of Sunday's impressive 37-13 win over the St. Louis Rams, Bears coach John Fox saw his team's most complete victory of the season.
Jay Cutler threw touchdown passes of 87 yards to Zach Miller and 83 yards to Jeremy Langford in posting a career-high 151.0 passer rating, while the Bears defense allowed just one TD and limited rookie running back Todd Gurley to 45 yards on 12 carries.
"I think we probably clicked as well as we have all season long," Fox said Monday, "in a short week, on the road, against an NFC opponent, which we hadn't done yet. From that standpoint, it's gratifying after the fact."
In six starts since missing a Week 3 loss to the Seahawks with a hamstring injury, Cutler has guided the Bears to a 4-2 record, passing for 1,700 yards with 11 touchdowns, three interceptions and a 98.7 passer rating.
Cutler has not thrown multiple interceptions in a contest this season, an eight-game stretch that is the longest of his 10-year NFL career. His passer ratings over the last six games have been 89.4, 88.4, 88.8, 94.4, 100.5 and 151.0.
"I think he's playing the quarterback position exceptionally well," Fox said.
The Bears coach was especially impressed with how Cutler put the offense in the right plays against an aggressive Rams defense Sunday.
"They give you a variety of looks, a lot of pressure packages," Fox said. "To get us in and out of plays is very critical. He studies extremely hard to get that done. Our offensive staff has done a terrific job of managing that and he's done a great job responding to it."
One example came on the first play of the fourth quarter with the Bears protecting a 24-13 lead and facing third-and-10 at the St. Louis 47. With the Rams crowding the line of scrimmage, Cutler switched the play from a pass to an outside run and rookie Jeremy Langford picked up 11 yards and a first down.
"It was something they showed late in the first half, a look we call an 11-up look," Fox said. "Trying to audible to something good on that can be a little challenging. We had a good answer and we executed."
After being limited in practice during the week with a groin injury, receiver Alshon Jeffery was little more than a decoy Sunday, catching just three passes for 23 yards. He also delivered key blocks on both of the Bears' long TD passes.
"It was a gutsy performance," Fox said. "He missed some practice time due to a leg injury. [Receivers coach] Mike Groh and the rest of our staff did a good job of managing him during the game—in and out, kind of resting that, trying to create some two-over-one situations to help our offensive football team. Considering the circumstances, I thought he did outstanding."
Defensively, the Bears dominated after allowing an 80-yard touchdown drive on the game's opening possession. After permitting four first downs on that first drive, the Bears yielded a total of four first downs over the Rams' next 11 possessions stretching into the fourth quarter.
Six days earlier, the Bears had allowed a TD on the Chargers' first drive before keeping the San Diego offense out of the end zone the rest of the game in a 22-19 comeback victory.
"For whatever reason, we haven't started as fast," Fox said. "I don't know, jitters or what it might be. I can't put my finger on it, but we're working at it. The good news is we've responded and kind of made adjustments and gotten better the rest of the game. It's something we'll work on, talk about. We've talked about it as a staff. We'll try to inject some things in practice that might help that."