The Bears entered Sunday’s game as home underdogs and left it with, hopefully, a little more respect after pummeling the Falcons, 30-12.
With a full team effort, the Bears put together almost a complete game as they outplayed Atlanta in all phases of the game. They came out with a balanced attack and drove down the field on the opening drive. They had to settle for three as the offense couldn’t get in the end zone, but they kept up the effort for most of the game.
Jay Cutler was efficient while completing 22 of 32 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw one interception that went for a touchdown and had a couple other close calls, but that’s to be expected from him at this point.
The offense looked good altogether racking up 377 total yards. Mike Martz called a balanced game plan and even showed some of his creativity on several plays including the Forte screen pass that went for a touchdown and a throwback to Kellen Davis that would have been a touchdown but Cutler overthrew him.
Forte and Kahlil Bell rushed 26 times for 92 yards. Forte averaged 4.25 yards per carry, so the run game went well but has room for improvement.
The defense is what impressed me most. Against last year’s fifth-highest scoring team, the Bears held them to two field goals — with the only other points coming from Atlanta’s interception return.
The defensive line was deep and solid and came after Matt Ryan all game, sacking him five times and knocking him down on several other occasions. At one point, Julius Peppers chased down Ryan, sacked him, and ripped off his helmet. That play was kind of indicative of the defensive dominance displayed by the Bears.
Special teams had their struggles with penalties and poor returns, but they played well enough to contribute to the win.
After watching the offensive dominance of Green Bay and New Orleans — the Bears’ next two opponents — on Thursday night, winning this game became imperative. We don’t know for sure if today’s impressive performance was more a result of an improved Bears team or a Falcons team worse than last year, but I feel good it was more of the former than the latter.