Bears QB Jay Cutler was bruised and battered following Chicago’s 24-13 loss at Detroit Monday night, but was given the game ball by coach Lovie Smith for not requiring a wheelchair to get back home.

“I wanted to recognize Jay for the pounding he took tonight,” Smith said after the game. “He showed great composure despite getting sacked three times and knocked down on at least a dozen other occasions.”

Despite the abuse his franchise QB has been forced to withstand since joining the Bears, Smith said he will never consider pulling Cutler to protect him.

“Jay is our quarterback,” said Smith. “That is until our offensive line’s inability to protect him finally forces him to the sideline or hospital.”