The return of Earl Bennett might not be the boon to Jay Cutler that it seemed to be. It's clear that Cutler has a special rapport with his former Vanderbilt teammate. But after Sunday's victory over the Lions at Soldier Field, it's starting to look like Bennett is the only receiver Cutler has a rapport with.
Against the Lions, it seemed like if Bennett wasn't open, nobody was. Bennett had six receptions for 81 yards in the first half, including gains of 15 yards on second-and-15, 17 yards on third-and-13 and 30 yards on second-and-three.
But when Bennett wasn't targeted in the second half, Cutler was shut out. He was 0-for-5 passing to finish 9-of-19 for 123 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions and a 68.5 passer rating.
In the two games that Bennett has played since returning from a nagging chest bruise, he has 11 receptions for 176 yards. That' s more than 53 percent of Cutler's 331 passing yards in those two games.
Cutler doesn't seem to have much of a connection, or much patience, for anybody else. Roy Williams looked like he had a chance for a touchdown on a third-and-seven play at the Lions 17 on the first play of the second quarter. But while Williams went deep, Cutler threw short -- an obvious miscommunication.
''We've got to get that straight,'' Williams said when I asked him about it after the game. ''We just got to get it going, that's all. Very fixable. Nothing to worry about. We'll have it fixed next week.''
We'll see about that. When Williams went over to Cutler on the sideline after the miscommunicated play, he cheerfully slapped his quarterback on the backside, as if to say, 'my bad.' Cutler gave him the palms up and shook his head. As well all know too well, you can't make too much of Cutler's sideline manner -- that's Jay being Jay -- but it's easy to see why it takes such a long time for Cutler to build a rapport or connection with a receiver.
For what it's worth, Sam Hurd played at least a series for Williams in the second half -- and caught a 21-yard pass. And Cutler only attempted one other pass Williams' way the rest of the game. Stay tuned.