1:00 PM ET, September 23, 2012
Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
After receiving plenty of scrutiny for his on-field outburst, Cutler and the Bears look to bounce back Sunday against the visiting St. Louis Rams, who already can match last season's win total under new coach Jeff Fisher.
Chicago managed 168 yards of offense in a 23-10 loss to Green Bay last Thursday, with Cutler throwing four interceptions. He was under duress from the opening snap, when he was sacked for a 13-yard loss.
Cutler ended up being sacked seven times -- second-most in his career to the nine times he was dropped in a loss to the New York Giants on Oct. 3, 2010.
"When he's getting hit that many times, that's on the O-line, so we have to do a better job protecting Jay and giving him more time," right tackle Gabe Carimi said.
Cutler had similar feelings, which he expressed to left tackle J'Marcus Webb with expletives and a shove caught by television cameras. He's been criticized in the media and by teammate D.J. Moore for the incident, but the quarterback, who finished 11 of 27 for 126 yards and a touchdown, said he simply wants to move on.
"It happened. It's an emotional game," Cutler said. "I put a lot into playing quarterback, and I take it seriously. It's just one of the things that happened during the game. Since then, we've talked about it, and it's really behind us."
The Bears (1-1) have had plenty of time to prepare for a Rams team they've beaten three straight times, though coach Lovie Smith -- St. Louis' defensive coordinator from 2001-03 before leaving for Chicago -- said his squad is in for a tough contest.
"The good part about not playing this past weekend is we had a chance to see a good football team play in the St. Louis Rams," Smith said. "There were some impressive wins over the weekend, but theirs was as impressive as any."
The Rams (1-1) overcame a 15-point second-quarter deficit to defeat Washington 31-28 last Sunday, giving Fisher his first victory with the team.
Fisher said he's impressed with the positive attitude of a team that finished 2-14 in 2011.
"When you're here, you expect to win," Fisher said. "That's kind of the attitude that they have and that goes back to our first little scuffle in the first play of our OTA."
The defense held highly touted rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III and Washington to only one score in the second half.
"It's a great feeling," defensive end Chris Long said. "But that's why we put in all the hard work, to see the product of Sunday. It just makes us more hungry to come out and prepare for next week."
Both the Bears and Rams have concerns in the running game with each of their top backs hurting.
Matt Forte sprained his ankle in the third quarter last Thursday and didn't return after running seven times for 31 yards and catching four passes for 49. The injury wasn't a high ankle sprain as originally reported, but Forte will miss this game.
St. Louis' top running back, Steven Jackson is uncertain to play after sitting out his second consecutive practice Thursday with a groin problem. Jackson, who missed most of the Washington game due to the injury, will be a game-time decision.
"I've played with worse injuries before," Jackson said, "but we still have to take it day to day."
Jackson rushed for 112 yards and Forte finished with 91 in Chicago's 17-9 victory over St. Louis in the most recent meeting Dec. 6, 2009.
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• Deal with the size of Chicago's receivers: With Brandon Marshall, Jay Cutler's favorite target, and Alshon Jeffery now on board, the Bears offer a massive group of receiving threats. Cutler is very adept at putting the ball up for his receivers to make plays. St. Louis is much-improved at corner with Janoris Jenkins and Cortland Finnegan, but it isn't a particularly tall group. The Rams' safeties can certainly be had in coverage. Chicago tight end Kellen Davis is big for his position and moves well. Despite all their problems in 2011, the Rams shut down opposing tight ends extremely well, but Detroit's tight ends abused St. Louis in Week 1.
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|Avg Points Allowed||26.0||16.7|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||STL|
|Rush Yds Allowed||STL|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Chicago leads 4-2|
|Dec 6, 2009||STL 9, @CHI 17|
|Nov 23, 2008||STL 3, CHI 27|
|Dec 11, 2006||STL 27, CHI 42|
|Nov 16, 2003||STL 23, @CHI 21|
|Nov 18, 2002||STL 21, CHI 16|