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Why is Jay Cutler getting worse? Simulation game may hold answer

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler returns sidelines after Packers sacked him third quarter Chicago Bears 27-17 loss Green Bay Packers Sunday

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler returns to the sidelines after the Packers sacked him in the third quarter of the Chicago Bears 27-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers Sunday September 25, 2011 at Soldier Field in Chicago. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: December 2, 2011 2:11PM

It’s becoming one of the great mysteries of Chicago sports: Why is Jay Cutler getting worse when he’s supposed to be getting better?

There are all sorts of plausible theories: He plays behind an average-at-best offensive line. He has an unproven group of Nos. 2 and 3 wide receivers. He’s playing in a system that subjects him to too many direct hits and sacks. He has a high ‘‘Jeff George Quotient.’’

As Lovie Smith would say, it’s probably a combination of all of them. The Bears’ offensive line is inexperienced at key spots and hasn’t played together long enough. The Bears’ receivers aren’t as bad as some would think, but Greg Jennings and Co. just showed us what good really is.

Then again, Cutler played for Mike Shanahan with the Broncos, was sacked only 11 times in 2008, had a Pro Bowl receiver in Brandon Marshall — and still was 16th in the NFL in passer rating (86.0) with an offense that was 16th in points (23.1 per game) and finished 8-8.

It looks like the Cutler saga is going to be one of those unsolved mysteries. It would be nice if the next time the Bears play the Packers, Cutler played for the Packers and Aaron Rodgers played for the Bears. That would be interesting.

In lieu of that, I had a Bears-Packers game on Madden 12 programmed to play with Rodgers on the Bears and Cutler on the Packers. The EA Sports people say it’s supposed to be a pretty good simulation.

If it is, it looks like we have our answer. Final score: Packers 39, Bears 20. Aaron Rodgers was 21-for-33 for 190 yards with two touchdowns, nine sacks and a 99.3 passer rating. He threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Roy Williams and a 19-yard touchdown pass to Kellen Davis.

Jay Cutler was 17-for-32 for 282 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions, seven sacks and a 77.8 rating. He threw an 87-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings and a 46-yard pass to Jordy Nelson. Jennings had seven catches for 182 yards.

It was only a simulation. It would be nice to find out for real.

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