ATLANTA—Jay Cutler loves to throw the ball as far as he can.He got plenty of chances Sunday.Cutler passed for 381 yards and a touchdown, Matt Forte ran for a couple of second-half scores, and the Bears picked up another road victory by beating the Atlanta Falcons 27-13.
”We came into it knowing we were going to have to get some chunks,” Cutler said. ”We couldn’t just dink it.”
No problem there. Cutler turned in the second-highest passing total of his career, surpassed only by a 447-yard effort at Cleveland in 2008. He was 26 for 38, an especially impressive performance since six of his completions went for at least 19 yards.
”We did a few things versus man, a few things versus zone down the field,” Cutler said. ”If we can keep mixing it up like that and running the ball effectively, we should be good.”
The Bears (3-3) snapped a two-game losing streak with its third victory in four road games this season, though there were so many Bears fans at the Georgia Dome that this seemed almost like a neutral site. They got to see the Bears become the first NFL franchise to reach 750 wins.After the Falcons (2-4) rallied from a 13-3 halftime deficit to tie the game late in the third quarter, the Bears bounced back to hand Atlanta its third straight loss. Cutler unleashed a towering pass to Alshon Jeffery that went for 74 yards. On the next play, Forte took it in for a 6-yard touchdown.The Falcons went three-and-out, and the Bears finished them off with a 15-play, 87-yard drive. Forte capped the march down the field with a 9-yard scoring burst up the middle.Jeffery finished with five catches for 136 yards. Brandon Marshall chipped in with six receptions for 113 yards.The Bears’ defense also came up with a monster effort, especially since all three starting linebackers and one of their top backups were out with injuries.
”Unbelievable job,” Cutler said.
The Bears outgained the Falcons in total yards (478-287) and controlled the time of possession, holding the ball for more than 36 minutes.Atlanta’s Matt Ryan was 19 of 37 for 271 yards, including a late interception, though he seemed like a one-man team at times. His receivers sure didn’t help the cause, dropping at least seven passes. The depleted offensive line surrendered four sacks. The Falcons rushed for just 42 yards on 13 carries.The loss was a huge blow for the Falcons, who won’t have another true home game until Nov. 23. Three of the next four are on the road, with the only designated home game actually the longest road trip of all – a game against Detroit at London’s Wembley Stadium.Not a good omen for a team that has lost 10 of its last 11 on the road.
”We’ve got a tough stretch coming up,” Ryan said. ”We can’t worry about it. We can’t complain about it. We’ve got to find a way to get it done.”
The Bears are doing just fine away from the Windy City.With the score tied at 3, The Bears pulled ahead on a seven-play, 79-yard drive. Cutler went to Marshall for the biggest play, a 47-yard pass to the Atlanta 3. On the next play, Cutler passed to Josh Morgan for the touchdown.Robbie Gould’s second field goal, a 28-yarder with 2 seconds left in the half, came after Cutler directed an 83-yard drive.The Falcons showed some life in the third period. Antone Smith took a short pass 41 yards for his fifth touchdown of the season – all of them coming on plays of at least 38 yards.Smith’s big play was about as good as it got for the Falcons, even though Matt Bryant booted a 54-yard field goal to tie the game. Bryant also connected from 52 yards in the opening quarter.By the fourth quarter, the Bears defenders were whipping up their fans at the Georgia Dome, sending them into raucous chants of ”Let’s go Bears!”
”We travel well,” Marshall said. ”We gave them something to cheer about.”
NOTES—The Bears were missing starting LBs Lance Briggs (rib), D.J. Williams (neck) and Shea McClellin (hand), along with Jonathan Bostic (back), who had been projected to start for Briggs on the weakside. Only Briggs and McClellin were listed as out on the final injury report before Sunday. … Falcons LG Justin Blalock, who had missed the previous game with a back injury, returned to the lineup. … Falcons return specialist Devin Hester didn’t do much against his former team. He had one catch for 23 yards along with 54 yards on punt and kickoff returns.