<
>

Dolphins' Jay Cutler has signature performance against Patriots

play
Underestimating Cutler cost the Pats (1:43)

Stephen A. Smith understands why the Patriots didn't expect Dolphins QB Jay Cutler to hand them a loss. (1:43)

DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins won their second straight game in December. They pulled off their biggest upset of the season with a 27-20 victory over the New England Patriots.

The Dolphins were 11-point underdogs, but the offense, led by quarterback Jay Cutler, kept them a step ahead of the Patriots throughout the game.

Here is an in-depth look at Cutler’s performance:

What I liked: This was Cutler’s signature performance in Miami. He saved arguably his best game for Miami’s toughest opponent of the season. It makes you wonder why Cutler cannot consistently produce these kinds of outings considering his natural arm talent. However, that’s been the story of Cutler’s career. How good was Cutler on Monday? His best throw was probably a deep incompletion to second-year receiver Jakeem Grant for what would have been a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Cutler’s dime put the ball over the New England defender and in stride through Grant’s hands, but the receiver failed to make the catch. Cutler hit eight different receivers in this game, which kept the Patriots guessing. His longest pass was a 47-yard, over-the-shoulder throw to running back Kenyan Drake.

What I didn’t like: There wasn't much not to like from Cutler in this game. On one of Cutler’s two sacks, he did hold the ball too long. But he was getting great protection in the pocket all game against the Patriots and may have been used to having the extra time. Otherwise, Cutler was as calm and collected in the pocket as we’ve seen all season.

Grade: A

What’s next: Cutler will need to stay hot. Miami’s next game will be a tough road trip to face the Buffalo Bills. This game has heavy playoff implications for both teams. Buffalo currently holds the final wild-card spot in the AFC, while the Dolphins (6-7) are one game behind. The Bills and Dolphins will play twice in the final three weeks of the season.