The Branch – Jay Cutler is thinking about re-naming the Georgia Dome, “Cutler’s Castle.”
Under second-year head coach Mike Smith, the Falcons are 9-1 at the Georgia Dome. Cutler has been the only quarterback to get out of the place with a victory.
Last season, before he whined and hissed his way out of Denver, Cutler tossed a 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Graham with 5:35 left to secure a 24-20 victory.
The Falcons had a shot to win, but Matt Ryan couldn’t pull of the dramatic touchdown drive in that game. He obviously had too much time.
His specialty is the 11-second thriller.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that Cutler is now the quarterback of the Chicago Bears and he’s up to his old tricks.
Granted Matt Hasselbeck wasn’t playing, but Cutler took the Bears into Seattle and beat our old pal Jim Mora and the Seattle Seahawks 25-19 on Sept. 27. Seattle probably has the best home field in the league and a notorious raucous crowd.
“Jay is doing a super job taking care of the ball and just really leading us,” Chicago coach Lovie Smith said. “Of course we feel very comfortable with him.”
I guess Coach Lovie has just forgotten about the five interceptions Cutler has thrown.
The key stat to watch with Cutler is his passing rating. He’s 13-0 when recording a 100-plus passing rating. Last season, against the Falcons he had a 106.4 passer rating.
“Guys listen to you and they hear, but they want to see with their eyes,” Lovie said. “That’s what they’ve got a chance to do with Jay. He’s been here every day that you could possibly be here when our team has practiced. . . I of course, with everybody else, like what I see.”
So does Falcons cornerback Chris Houston.
“We are looking to get his best,” Houston said.
Houston has also been raving about Chicago rookie “Number 13.” That’s the fleet Johnny Knox, the fifth rounder from Abilene Christian, who has scored a touchdown in three straight games.
Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, Knox is only one of five Bears rookies to score in at least three straight games. The others are Walter Payton, Willie Gault, Anthony Thomas and Matt Forte.
“They are fast and explosive,” Houston said. “At any time they can go the distance.”
THE FINAL 11 SECONDS: Here are a couple of links if you want to see those final 11 seconds against the Bears last season.
POWER POLL: In the Sporting News Today’s Power Poll on Tuesday, my buddy Clifton Brown had the Falcons ranked 10th in the league. Brown wrote “Whipping the 49ers was impressive. Matt Ryan must keep feeding Roddy White.”
YOU CAN VOTE FOR TURNER: Running back Michael Turner, who rushed for 97 yards and three touchdowns against the 49ers, has been nominated for the FedEx Ground player of the week award. Fans can vote for the winner at www.nfl.com/FedEx. If Turner wins, the company will donate $1,000 to the local Safe Kids USA coalition in Atlanta. Other nominees are Cedric Benson of the Bengals and Ahmad Bradshaw of the Giants.
The donation could go towards painting crosswalks, installing signs, landscaping near sidewalks and playgrounds, installing bike racks, and developing educational programs and events to teach kids about pedestrian safety.
The voting closes at noon on Friday. The winner will be announced Friday evening on NFL.com.
Turner won the award twice last season.
IN: Singer and entertainer Fergie has an agreement to be limited ownership partner with the Miami Dolphins.
OUT: Rush “The Pioneer” Limbaugh has been dropped from the prospective St. Louis Rams ownership group.