CHICAGO (MCT) — When the Bears return to Soldier Field on Sept. 23 to face the Rams, coach Lovie Smith encourages the home crowd to erupt after every score or before the defense attempts a third-down stop.
But when the offense lines up in a goal-line situation, Smith expects the same reaction quarterback Jay Cutler desired during Sunday’s season opener: Quiet on the set.
“There’s a general rule: When our defense is out there, that’s the beauty of having a home crowd,” Smith said Monday. “... And when we have the ball offensively, we would like for our crowd to be as quiet as possible then.
“Of course, we would love for you to cheer right after the play. But in between, when we’re trying to communicate, yes, we definitely need them to be quiet then.”
During the first quarter of Sunday’s 41-21 victory against the Colts, Cutler broke the huddle on first-and-goal from the 1 and immediately motioned with his arms four times for the fans to quiet down. The roars continued, and Cutler called a timeout. He emphatically unsnapped his chin strap in disgust, flailed his arm two more times, then was captured by television cameras telling the crowd, “Shut up.”
The Bears proceeded to score three snaps after the timeout on Michael Bush’s 1-yard touchdown run.
Cutler continued his plea to the fans after Sunday’s game.
“Please, please, please let’s tone it down a little bit when we’re down in the 20,” the quarterback said. “You’re more than welcome to yell and scream and do whatever you want to do after we score, but, please, let’s go ahead and quiet the stadium down and save it for after we score. Thank you. That’s my PSA.”
Cutler reiterated that sentiment Monday evening on the debut of “The Jay Cutler Show” on WMVP-AM.
“Here’s the thing, as fans, I think everyone complained about our ability to audible ... if we’re going to have the ability to do that, the stadium has to be relatively quiet for everyone to hear and be on the same page,” Cutler said. “Some people I hear today are a little bit perturbed about the way I said it, but so be it.”
Smith said the fans were “outstanding” on third downs when the defense was on the field. The Colts were 2 of 10 on third down, although they converted both their fourth-down opportunities.
Cutler will have no choice but to contend with crowd noise Thursday night as the Bears travel to Green Bay. The more than 70,000 expected at Lambeau Field certainly won’t shut up when the Bears are on offense.