If Jay Cutler and Adam Gase are finally back to the comfort level of their former collaboration in Chicago, that would be good for the Miami Dolphins.
The question is how good? That crazy comeback in win at Atlanta featured Cutler’s first Miami game with two touchdown passes. He kept everything short and safe and, in the second half at least, he kept the Dolphins offense humming.
We can project the best of this solid effort onto the rest of the season, or maybe even something better, but to me it’s more realistic to look at what Cutler and Gase did together with the Bears. That’s always advertised as one of Cutler’s most efficient seasons, remember, and at the of 34 efficiency should be his highest goal.
First, if you’re looking for Cutler to run off a long string of victories, he never did that when Gase was his offensive coordinator and playcaller in Chicago. Their longest win streak was two in a row, which happened twice that season, and two in a row is where the Dolphins’ win streak is right now.
You have to go back to 2013 to find a longer win streak for Cutler. He won five in a row back then, spanning from the end of the 2012 season into the start of the next one. It didn’t last, though, as the Bears missed the playoffs at 8-8.
As for multiple-touchdown games, Cutler is just getting started at Miami with his first against Atlanta. He didn’t have any in 2016 but in 2015, working with Gase, it happened seven times. There’s some promise there.
The most explosive passing game Cutler and Gase had together in Chicago was a 37-13 win over the Rams. Playing indoors, at St. Louis’ Edward Jones Dome, Cutler completed 19 of 24 passes for 258 yards with three touchdowns. Included in that were scoring plays of 87 and 83 yards. Altogether, it was a career-best quarterback rating of 151.0 for Cutler.
In 2017 with the Dolphins, he has climbed above a rating of 100 just once, in the opening win over the Los Angeles Chargers, and has an average rating of 85.3 through five games. That’s short of his career-best 92.3 rating for the 2015 season, achieved with Gase.
In short, we’re seeing something just a little shy of the rhythm that Cutler and Gase found in 2015 as a quarterback-playcaller tandem. Through the first five games of that season the Bears were 2-3 and Cutler had four interceptions to go with seven touchdown passes. In 2017 the Dolphins are 3-2, while Cutler has four interceptions and five touchdown passes.
If Cutler is going to vary a great deal from 2015, it figures he will be a little worse over time instead of better. He’s older now, and so far has been involved each week in low-scoring games with little margin for error.
Look again to 2015. The Bears had three wins and four losses in games decided by a field goal or less.
Boy, is that familiar. Miami has scored 71 points this year and has allowed 73. It wouldn’t be that good, either, without a defensive touchdown scored on a Reshad Jones fumble return against Tennessee.
All of this puts a ton of pressure on Cutler to take advantage of every opportunity. That’s what the Dolphins need to make the playoffs, but he’s going to need all the help he can get.
We’re pretty much seeing the 2015 Jay Cutler right now, and the 2015 Bears finished 6-10 with a couple of overtime losses.