LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Jay Cutler lowered the boom Sunday night at Pittsburgh, and the hit was still echoing around Halas Hall on Monday.
A day after the Chicago Bears put together a convincing 40-23 victory over the Steelers, Cutler's fourth-quarter shoulder ram into Steelers safety Robert Golden was being mentioned prominently.
"He's our leader; everybody looks to him," said wide receiver Earl Bennett, who benefited the most from Cutler's run when he finished the drive with a 17-yard touchdown catch. "He's just going out and playing hard. As you can see from that play when he needed a couple of more inches, he lowered his shoulder pad and got a couple more yards. He's one of those guys that is going to do whatever is needed for this team to win."
As coach Marc Trestman broke down all phases of Sunday's victory, Cutler's run was mentioned as prominently as all the touchdowns scored and turnovers created by the defense.
"I thought Jay played very unselfishly," Trestman said at the start of his critique of the quarterback position. "You want to come out, you want to throw the ball down the field, you want to do some things, and I think that in retrospect, as much as we wanted to do some of those things and we tried, we kept him safe and allowed him to live for another play. And certainly his effort in the fourth quarter on that run was exceptional."
Trestman seemed to reveal, though, that while it isn't ideal for his quarterback to deliver a shoulder-first hit, especially with the shoulder that is connected to his throwing arm, he is OK with his quarterback being physical if the situation warrants.
"We've always talked about it," Trestman said. "You look at the tape and he had probably crossed the first down by about a couple of yards. He wasn't sure. I think he would have probably slid if he was sure, but in talking to him, he wasn't sure and that's why he decided to let himself go and do what he did."
It didn't seem to be a coincidence that after Cutler's play, the Bears scored two more touchdowns in just over five minutes on the clock.
"It was an exceptional run and another part of Jay that we're seeing," Trestman said. "It was a very important play in a very important time of the game."
Bennett said the Cutler run fired up the team.
"Yeah, but I kind of winced a little bit too," Bennett said. "'Hey man, slide!' But he's a hard player, and I know that each and every week he will give his all."