Cutler, Chicago End Seattle’s Season with 35-24 Victory

After being the problem in the Bears’ regular-season loss at home against the Seahawks, Jay Cutler was his team’s answer in the rematch.

Accounting for four touchdowns, Cutler led the way as Chicago defeated visiting Seattle 35-24 in a NFC Divisional playoff that decided who’d host the 2010 NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers.

It took Cutler just one pass to get his team an early first-quarter lead. Facing third-and-three from his 42-yard line, the quarterback found Greg Olson deep down the field for a 58-yard touchdown at 12:17.

Following a Chester Taylor one-yard touchdown run prior to the end of the opening quarter, Cutler was at it again. Calling his own number, the 6-foot-3, 233-pound quarterback sneaked up the middle before breaking toward the left end of the line of scrimmage. Eluding tacklers, he capped off the six-yard run by plunging into the end zone with 10:07 left in the first half. A Robbie Gould extra point gave the Bears a 14-0 advantage.

On Chicago’s second possession of the second half, Cutler picked up his third score – a nine-yard run into the end zone at 4:18.

His fourth score came with 4:47 remaining in the game when a deep pass-and-catch down the field to Kellen Davis turned into a 39-yard touchdown after the tight end got away from two Seattle defenders. Robbie Gould’s extra point after the touchdown extended Chicago’s lead to 35-10.

The quarterback finished the day with 274 passing yards, the four touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 111.3 in addition to 43 rushing yards on eight carries.

The performance was a stark contrast from the one he had in Chicago’s 23-20 loss at home to Seattle in Week Six. In that game, Cutler failed to score and earned a quarterback rating of 69.4. He was also sacked six times.

While Cutler shined early and often Sunday, his counterpart didn’t until the game’s final quarter.

After his four-touchdown day against visiting New Orleans in Seattle’s 41-36 NFC Wild Card victory last Saturday, Matt Hasselbeck needed over 48 minutes to find the end zone in Chicago. Trailing 28-3 early in the fourth quarter, the quarterback hit wide receiver Mike Williams for a two-yard score.

Two possessions later, the two got together for another touchdown – this time a three-yard play – to bring the Seahawks within 18 at 35-17 following Olindo Mare’s extra point.

Less than a minute ticked off the clock before Hasselbeck tacked on another score, completing a nine-yard pass to Brandon Stokley at 2:19.

Seattle’s ensuing onside kick was recovered by Chicago. Three kneel downs later by the Bears’ Cutler and the game was over.

Hasselbeck completed 26 of 46 pass attempts for 258 yards and the three touchdowns in what could have been his final game in a Seattle uniform as the 12-year veteran was in his last year of his contract with the team.

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