Well, it happened. Mike Shanahan made the move from Jake Plummer to Jay Cutler. Every Bronco fan begged for it, got it, and now must live with it, playoffs-be-damned.
Sunday night, on national television, Cutler looked ... well, like a rookie, mostly. His final stats: 10 of 21 for 143 yards, 2 INT (one of which was of the Gawd-awful getting-dragged-down-so-I'll-just-huck-up-a-dead-duck variety, which, to no one's surprise, was returned for a score to cut Denver's lead to 10-7) and 2 TD (the first of which was a laser to Stephen Alexander that he tipped to himself, and the other was all Brandon Marshall, who broke several pathetic tackles and converted a six-yard out into a 71-yard score).
The Bottom Line: Seattle 23, Denver 20. Somewhere, Captain Caveman was smiling his little ass off.
But which J.C. did Jay Cutler play like? John Clayton, Jay Cutler, or Jesus Christ? The breakdown:
John Clayton: Erstwhile nerd hero for ESPN, diligent reporter of everything pigskin, natural enemy to Sean Salisbury (which is actually a good thing).
Likes: The Tampa Two defense; two tight end sets; Tom Brady; Creedence Clearwater Revival; Herm Edwards; North Dallas Forty; anything with coconut in it; dragging a fullback across the middle on play-action near the goal line; anything with Catherine O'Hara in it; cabernet sauvignon and pinot grigio; Tom Brady; the year 1987; hairless dogs; Tom Brady.
Dislikes: Sean Salisbury; Sean Salisbury; carrots; Sean Salisbury; chardonnay; Seardonnay Salisbury; running draws on anything longer than third-and-eight; salisbury steak.
This J.C. plays like: Your nerdy cousin who feels like he kinda has to get involved in the annual Thanksgiving game, then jams a finger when you lightly toss the ball to him. He then runs inside and pokes at some cranberry sauce, asking your mother about her sweater.
Jay Cutler: No, really, check it out.
Likes: Protein enhancers; six sets of four reps; baby oil; tanning beds; tanning lotions; lotion in general; lifting insane amounts of weight; asking the person nearest to him to scratch that itch on his back, or thigh, or ... well, just about anywhere; supplements; being hung like a 3-year-old Asian kid in Alaska in January; eating everything in bar form; drinking everything (including protein enhancers and supplements) in shake form; feeling the "burn"; scaring the Bejeesus out of people in public; oh, who are we kidding - taking copious amounts of illegal steroids; bacne.
Dislikes: The geek he used to be in high school (see above); not giving 110%; hair; walking for more than 20 minutes at a time; the constricting nature of clothes made for mortal humans; sex.
This J.C. plays like: A solid veteran. May make a few mistakes here and there (and get some much-loved "needling" from his teammates) but, overall, gets the job done and earns a W for the team. And they respect him because, you know, he's the quarterback and can squash their heads like a grape.
Jesus Christ: Son of God; died for all of your sins, you naughty, dirty little soul, you; had a comeback that was so freakin' epic we now celebrate it by eating chocolate bunnies and finding hidden eggs that have been dyed in various pastel hues; at parties, frequently walks on top of the hot tub water as amazed partygoers scream, "JC! JC!"; then completely blows their minds when he turns said water into wine; fasted for forty days and forty nights, and not in the gay way Josh Hartnett did in that movie; returned to the NBA for one glorious night, bagging 34 points on 12-19 shooting (3-4 from downtown), grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out eight assists; totally made Paul Rodriguez get him a beer once.
Likes: Everything, man. It's Jesus.
Dislikes: Seeing crosses everywhere; nails; Jews (according to Mel Gibson).
This J.C. plays like: If Johnny Unitas, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, John Elway, Tom Brady, Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick and Peyton Manning got together, did their business into a Terrible Towel, then impregnated Wonder Woman, and when that kid grew up all he did was live to play football. And so he did.
Yup. The touchdowns weren't anything special, but the mistakes were pretty bad. And apparently it took him a while to get the right tone of voice in the huddle, so that his team could hear him and the other team couldn't.
It takes time. We'll see.