On Sunday with all eyes on Jay Cutler, the Chicago Bears didn’t disappoint and beat the visiting Atlanta Falcons 30-12.
It was a much-needed win for a team that was the topic of conversation in the offseason, especially Cutler. He gave friends and foes a lot to talk about after he completed 22 of 32 passes, 312 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Yes, Cutler had four sacks but he had a quarterback rating of 107.8.
He did flash some of his trademark impatience and pouting but he appeared confident and in command.
After a slow preseason, the Bears’ defense was in stellar form. Linebacker Brian Urlacher picked off Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan which enabled Bears running back Matt Forte to eventually score. In the third quarter, Urlacher grabbed a fumble by Ryan and ran 12 yards for a touchdown.
Julius Peppers and Henry Melton each had two sacks.
While patiently waiting for his contract extension, Forte had a good game with 16 carries for 68 yards and five receptions for 90 yards and one touchdown, a 56-yard catch. New running back Marion Barber sat out but Kahlil Bell had 10 carries for 24 yards.
In addition to watching Cutler’s play, eyes were also on wide receiver Roy Williams. In his brief appearance on the field, he caught four passes for 55 yards but left in the fourth quarter with a groin injury. The third Dallas musketeer, Sam Hurd, is also sidelined with an injury.
So far these three are not off to a good start.
Wide receiver Devin Hester zigged and zagged on a 53-yard pass, stopping short of a touchdown. He had three three catches for 60 yards (an avg of 20 yards).
For the day, the Bears’ receiving corp. kept busy with four different players grabbing plays of 20 plus yards. Johnny Knox had three receptions for 60 yards (avg 20 yards) and new tight end Matt Spaeth had his first touchdown as a Bear.
The Bears kept kicker Robbie Gould active during the game. He had three field goals with a long one of 41 yards.
It wasn’t a great day for the Falcons, the reigning NFC South champs. Ryan completed 31 of 47 passes for 319 yards and one interception. He had a 76.5 rating and at times, appeared visibly rattled by the Bears’ defense.
The bright spot for the Falcons was running back Michael Turner with a 100-yard game and high expectations rookie wide receiver Julio Jones was five for 71 yards, one yard behind tight end Tony Gonzalez for the leader in receptions.
A lot of questions were answered today by the Bears’ play and expectations for the season may have risen a bit. Next week the Bears travel to play the New Orleans Saints, another tough team.
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Written by Debbie Baratz