Jay Cutler wasn’t just better than he’s been all season on Sunday night.
He put together one of the best performances of his career.
And it still wasn’t enough to beat the Raiders.
Cutler threw for a season-high 311 yards and three touchdowns and completed 34 of 42 passes in what was by far his best performance since signing with the Dolphins to fill in for injured starter Ryan Tannehill back in August.
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Cutler’s previous high this season was 230 yards in the Dolphins’ season-opener against the Chargers.
"I think he played well," Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. "He did a good job of getting the ball out of his hands. He threw it away a couple of times. We’ve just got to find ways to protect him a little better. We’ve got to be a little more consistent."
Cutler’s performance Sunday came two weeks after hearing consistent chants of "We want [Matt] Moore" from Dolphins’ fans at recent home games.
Cutler suffered cracked ribs on Oct. 22 against the Jets and exited the game in the third quarter. Moore led a Dolphins’ rally in that game, but started last week’s 40-0 debacle against the Ravens.
Cutler, who wore a protective vest on Sunday, said he felt good throughout the game.
"The offensive line did a great job," Cutler said. "They’ve got some premier pass rushers over there and they played really well."
Cutler’s completion percentage (81.0) was a career-high surpassing an 80.8 percent performance on Dec. 5, 2010 when he played for the Chicago Bears.
Cutler, who wore a protective vest during Sunday night’s game, completed his first 16 passes and finished with a 121.3 quarterback rating which was the 12th-highest of his career, which has spanned 146 games.
Before exiting in the third quarter of the Jets’ game on Oct. 22 after being clocked by linebacker Jordan Jenkins, Cutler had completed 75 percent of his passes (12 of 16) and finished that game with a 114.1 rating.
But despite the performance and only being sacked once, the Dolphins had multiple drives self-destruct due to penalties including four holding penalties.
Cutler also delivered those numbers in the Dolphins’ first game after trading feature back Jay Ajayi to the Eagles. His replacements Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams each played well. Williams caught Cutler’s first touchdown pass from 10 yards out in the first quarter.
"I think we just have to look at the positives; offensively, we did some good things tonight," Cutler said. "If we eliminate some of those penalties and that turnover when we’re driving, we’re in good position. We’re 4-4 at the halfway point. (There is) a lot of football left to play. There are a lot of opportunities for us to put it together."
Jarvis Landry, who caught one of Cutler’s touchdown passes, said he wasn’t surprised Cutler could put together that type of performance.
"We all know it’s something that Jay can do," Landry said. "It felt good to have him back out there. I wish we could have put this one together somehow."