This was arguably the Chicago Bears best all-around performance so far this season.
The Bears dominated on both sides of the ball, despite another shaky special teams performance for what could be a season-saving win in Atlanta. Missing four linebackers, the Bears defense held their own and slowed down the Falcons offense.
Meanwhile, the Bears offense ended their second half drought and buried Atlanta with two second half touchdowns.
Jay Cutler turned in one of his best performances of the season Sunday as he led the Bears offense on five scoring drives with three ending in touchdowns. Cutler threw for a career high 381 yards and added in a touchdown pass.
Most importantly is the fact that Cutler didn’t turn over the ball once and didn’t force the ball.
Another solid week for Matt Forte who continues to be valuable not only running the ball but in the receiving game as well. Forte finished with 157 total yards and two touchdowns on the day. He had 10 total receptions and was very effective throughout the game.
Rookie running back Ka’Deem Carey saw his playing time increase for the second straight week as the team looks to get him more involved. Carey had just four carries on the game, but was in on more snaps than previous weeks.
Wide receivers/Tight ends
In the off-season, Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall challenged Falcons wide receiver Roddy White to a bet on who the best receiving core in football is. If Sunday was the deciding factor between the two, the winner goes to the Bears.
Both Marshall and Alshon Jeffery were terrific Sunday as they combined for 11 receptions and 249 yards.
But those two weren’t the only ones that got into the action. Wide receiver Josh Morgan caught his first touchdown pass of the season in the second quarter. The touchdown came on a 3-yard pass from Cutler on third down to give the Bears a 10-3 lead.
Tight end Martellus Bennett continued the “YAC” with four receptions for 52 yards including some yards after contact.
Overall it was a solid day for the Bears offensive line aside from some miscues on penalties early in the game. Jordan Mills really struggled with a few penalties that hurt some Bears drives early on.
But after settling in, the Bears line regrouped and played better.
They did give up three sacks to a team that has been horrendous in that category this year and the effort was better in the second half.
Stephen Paea and Willie Young continue to be the best players on the Bears defensive line this season. The two combined for three sacks and three QB hits in the game. Young leads the NFL with seven sacks on the season.
Defensive end Jared Allen also had a nice game getting his first sack of the season and added in a QB hit. The Bears line played better with the return of Jeremiah Ratliff and a healthy Allen helped as well.
If you would have told me that Lance Briggs, Shea McClellin, D.J. Williams and Jon Bostic were to miss the game and the Bears defense would have a solid game I would have called you crazy.
Well it happened.
Khaseem Greene, Darryl Sharpton and Christian Jones filled in well for the missing linebackers. The trio combined for 17 tackles and played an important role in stopping the Falcons offense.
The Bears secondary matched up very well with the Falcons talent receiving core. They held Roddy White and Julio Jones to a combined seven receptions for 108 yards and zero touchdowns.
Rookie Kyle Fuller had another good game as he forced another fumble and played solid coverage on Jones.
The Bears special teams unit continues to be a problem for the team as they continue to fail at bringing the ball out past the 20. The Bears longest kickoff return has gone to the 18-yard line.
Other than poor blocking, the special teams wasn’t all that bad. Gould connected on both field goals, but had an extra point blocked.
Their was a big positive however as the special teams did a great job in containing Devin Hester. Hester was unable to get anything going in the return game.