While Wentz looked poised, accurate and polished in the pocket, Cutler played the role of shaky rookie, losing a key fumble and throwing a terrible interception before he left the game with a right-hand injury.
Cutler’s struggles and subsequent injury put an exclamation point on an embarrassing 29-14 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Regardless of the true extent of Cutler’s hand problem, the Chicago Bears played like a four- or five-win team, while Wentz has Eagles fans thinking playoffs in the wide-open NFC East.
You can use injuries (Cutler, Eddie Goldman, Lamarr Houston, Adrian Amos and Bryce Callahan) as an excuse to cover up the latest debacle at Soldier Field (1-8 at home under John Fox), but the Bears offense, in particular, was outplayed and outcoached from the opening kickoff.
And that is alarming.
Follow the money. The Bears spent heavily on that side of the ball — Cutler ($17 million base salary in 2016), Alshon Jeffery ($14.599 million), Kyle Long ($7.6 million), Bobby Massie ($5.8 million), Josh Sitton ($5.6 million) and Eddie Royal ($4.5 million) — and the results are putrid.
On a weekend when former Bears’ wide receiver Brandon Marshall, running back Matt Forte and tight end Martellus Bennett put up sizable numbers for their new teams, the Bears — outside of Jeffery (five catches, 96 yards) and Royal (65-yard punt return for a TD) — barely had a pulse.
But maybe the biggest loss is Adam Gase, who after one year of coaching Cutler, left for Miami in the offseason. Gase could ultimately fail as the Dolphins’ head coach, but he understood how to call plays, and just as importantly, he knew how to connect with Cutler.
Cutler, who posted a career-best 92.3 quarterback rating in 2015, is falling back on some disturbing old habits. Cutler now has three turnovers in seven quarters of play.
The jury is still out on new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. But Loggains is quickly losing the benefit of the doubt, with the offense’s issues in the preseason carrying over to the regular season.
Fox (6-12 as Bears head coach) strongly endorsed Loggains on multiple occasions, but the hire is questionable, at best.
When the Bears had an elite defense under Lovie Smith, the prospect of losing Cutler for any period of time was terrifying, and often disastrous in the win/loss column.
Now, though, how big of a deal is it?
At this rate, maybe the Bears are in position to draft their version of Wentz next April. That’s the only positive that can be taken from Week 2.