Richard Rosenblatt, AP Sports Writer
There’s a big bye week coming up in the NFL, with six — count ’em, six — teams enjoying a weekend without worrying whether their players will be delivering or receiving helmet-to-helmet hits.
The Bears, Browns, Eagles, Falcons, Giants and Ravens officially get a game break, but from this group only the Bears, Jay Cutler in particular, really need time off.
The sad sackable Cutler was pummeled four times by the Redskins in a 17-14 loss (he also threw four interceptions to DeAngelo Hall), raising his sacks count to 19 in three of the Bears’ last four games. He sat out the lone win during that span with a concussion after absorbing nine sacks by the Giants.
Perhaps this extra time will allow the Bears to figure out a way to keep Cutler from turning into a tackling dummy. However, it may be too late. After the loss, he said he never thought about throwing away from Hall.
“There’s no reason to shy away from him,” Cutler said. “I mean that’s hard for me to say throwing four picks to the guy, but I still think if we had to play him tomorrow, I’d go after him every time.”
Here’s a Pick Six of those who could really use a bye:
— Brett Favre: A no-brainer. With two fractures in his left ankle, the NFL’s ironman could see his record consecutive-game streak of 291 games — 315 counting playoffs — end Sunday when the Vikings visit the Patriots. Combined with his off-the-field issues, his team’s 2-4 record and his coach being fined $35,000 for criticizing game officials, every Viking should have extra days to chill out.
— Officiating crew from Steelers-Dolphins game: After making the wrong call on the field — a TD that was reversed by replay and called a fumble — referee Gene Steratore and his guys got everything else right, according to NFL rules. The ruling was Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had fumbled rather than scored. Because the officials could not determine who had recovered — remember, the original call was TD so who was really paying attention? — Pittsburgh was given the ball at the 1, kicked the winning field goal with 2:26 left, and left Dolphins fans crying foul. Well done following the reversal, but someone needs to get the call on the field right. Why not huddle up after that call to make sure it was a TD? Fellas, take a break.
— Buffalo Bills: The lone winless team in the league, the Bills already had a bye, but could sure use another week to recover from a 37-34 overtime loss to the Ravens. And to think … the lowly Bills still lost after collecting 505 yards and four touchdowns against one of the NFL’s fiercest defenses. Now, instead of pitting their worst-ranked run defense against the Chiefs No. 1 rushing offense, go have some beer and wings, and regroup!
— Denver Broncos: A month off might work better after allowing the hated Raiders to score a club record 59 points — in Denver, no less — in a 59-14 loss. Darren McFadden looked like a Hall of Famer in scoring four TDs against the Broncos’ defense, which surrendered 328 yards on the ground and 508 total yards. A week off in London might work … Oh wait, the Broncos are in London to play the 49ers (1-6). Maybe they do have a bye.
— San Diego Chargers: This team needs a bye now, not Nov. 14. Yes, the Chargers (2-5) have been known to start slow and finish strong, but this year may be different. With 18 turnovers, they’ve already topped last year’s number, and coach Norv Turner admits he has some players handling the ball that shouldn’t be. Philip Rivers, meanwhile, leads the league in yards passing with 2,344, but, he, too, could use a long timeout — to rest his arm!
— Seattle Seahawks: They may be first in the NFC West, but do they really need to visit the Raiders on Halloween? They would be much better off looking for a few extra quarterbacks for their Nov. 7 home game — against the quarterback-crushing Giants. In case you’ve lost count, the Giants have sidelined five QBs so far.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.