Bears coach Mark Trestman made the controversial decision to start Cutler instead of Josh McCown, who led Chicago to three wins while filling in for an injured Cutler during the last month and a half. That decision looked as though it would backfire early after two early picks put the Bears in 10-3 hole, but Cutler bounced back to finish with 265 yards and three touchdowns.
Cutler's day got off to a bad start when he threw a redzone interception on his first possession of the game. On just his fourth attempt, he attempted to fit a pass into double coverage and had it tipped and intercepted in the endzone by Tashaun Gipson.
Gipson picked off Cutler a second time midway through the second quarter, this time finding the endzone for a 44-yard pick-six to put the Browns up 10-3.
The Bears would return the favor with an almost identical play early in the third quarter when Zack Bowman picked off Jason Campbell and raced 43 yards down the sideline to give the Bears a 17-10 lead.
The Browns then answered with a 14-0 run. Edwin Baker found the endzone on a two-yard rush, then T.J. Ward picked up a Chicago fumble and raced 51 yards for a defensive touchdown to put Cleveland up, 24-17.
Cutler really began to hit his stride in the fourth quarter, leading the Bears to touchdowns on three consecutive drives to pull away late. The comeback began when Alshon Jeffery climbed the ladder to haul in a 45-yard pass early in the quarter to tie the game at 24.
The Browns pulled back to within seven with just over a minute left when Josh Gordon busted loose for a 43-yard touchdown.
Fantasy studs and duds
Cutler's strong play led to big days for two of his receivers. Brandon Marshall had six grabs for 95 yards and touchdown while Jeffery caught five passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. Matt Forte rushed 24 times for 127 yards, but failed to find the endzone.
An otherwise quiet day from Gordon was salvaged on a late 43-yard touchdown. He finished with just three receptions for 67 yards.
Did they cover?
The Bears covered the spread after opening as 1.5-point favorites, according to Oddsshark.com.