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Red zone statistics tell a horror story for Cutler, Bears

The two interceptions by Jay Cutler in the red zone on Thursday at San Francisco made the bad Bears’ red zone offense even worse.

They’re now 13-for-30 scoring touchdowns in red zone trips (43.3 percent) and 5-for-30 throwing interceptions in red zone trips (16.7 percent).

Conversely, opponents have scored touchdowns on 21-of-30 red zone opportunities (70 percent) and the Bears have yet to get a takeaway in the red zone.

But the most compelling numbers of all come from Mike Klis of the Denver Post. He sent some research my way on Friday, evidence that the Bears need to do something in working with Cutler in the red zone.

Red zone interceptions

(Since Week 13 of 2008)

1. Jay Cutler, DEN-BEARS, 14 games, 8 INT

2. Marc Bulger, STL, 10 games, 3 INT

2. Jake Delhomme, CAR, 13 games, 3 INT

4. Drew Brees, NO, 13 games, 2 INT

4. David Garrard, JAC, 12 games, 2 INT

4. Josh Johnson, TB, 3 games, 2 INT

4. Matt Ryan, ATL, 14 games, 2 INT

4. Kurt Warner, ARI, 15 games, 2 INT

For good measure, Klis reports that Kyle Orton has two red zone interceptions in 41 career starts.

The biggest problem with the red zone picks by Cutler is that each time it virtually throws away three points. Robbie Gould is among the most accurate field goal kickers in NFL history. A turnover inside the 20-yard line means the Bears are losing the opportunity at a field goal from 38 yards or closer.

Offensive coordinator Ron Turner has said the Bears will work on it. Lovie Smith has said Cutler needs to be more careful near the goalline. Nothing has worked to this point, and the offense is now 5-for-16 (31.3 percent) in the last five games in the red zone.