The Bears did exactly what they have been known to do, dominate on defense. The “Monsters of the Midway” returned to the playing field on Sunday in a convincing 30-12 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
They pressured Falcons QB Matt Ryan all day long.
Julius Peppers and Henry Melton were credited with two sacks each. Peppers sacked Ryan midway through the third quarter, which forced a fumble that LB Brian Urlacher scooped up for a touchdown. Melton was a beast as well getting to Ryan seven times, five coming on QB hits.
Also, DT Amobi Okoye recorded his first sack as a Bear and looked solid in the defensive line rotation.
With the game tied 3-3, with under five minutes left in the first quarter, Brian Urlacher intercepted a deflected pass by Matt Ryan. This athletic interception led to a huge score for the Bears. Urlacher didn’t look his age at all, 33, on that play.
RB Matt Forte cashed in on the turnover taking a screen pass 56 yards for a score. He got help from some great blocks on the way to the end zone.
Could this big day by Forte help him cash in on a new contract? The guy deserves it, but will the Bears budge? Sooner or later this guy has to get paid, he just keeps performing.
Quick Stat: 158 yards from scrimmage for Forte, 312 yards passing from Cutler and receptions by eight different receivers on the day for the Bears.
Two more field goals in the second quarter gave the Bears a 16-3 at the half and they were excelling in all three phases.
Devin Hester had a nice day in the return game, returning three kickoffs for 53 yards and one punt for 14 yards. Many analysts said he would suffer because of the new kickoff rule implemented which has kickers booting kicks from the 35-yard line instead of the 30.
Hester hasn’t returned a lot of kickoffs lately, actually he’s only returned 19 since 2008. But they used him the right way for maybe the first time since converting him to receiver. With a lack of a No. 1 receiver, Hester doesn’t need to play offense a lot, so it’s good that he can focus on punt and kick returns.
He was a weapon on offense though, reeling in three passes for 60 yards. He took a bubble screen for 53 yards and missed the end zone by about one yard. This led to a touchdown pass by Cutler, to tight end Matt Spaeth to put the Bears up 23-6. Urlacher’s fumble return discussed above put the Bears up 30-6.
The Bears had control from then on out. The fourth quarter saw only one score, by the Falcons on an interception return. Falcons defensive end Kroy Biermann intercepted Cutler on a tipped pass and took it to the house to make the score 30-12. Not a pretty play by the Bears, but they will learn to overcome them.
The Bears were flying all over the field not only on defense, but also on offense. Bears fans should be very pleased with the ways things went down during Week 1 of the NFL season.
1) Nick Reed – Although on the stat sheet it shows he only deflected a pass, Reed was pretty effective in passing downs. He seemed to know where to be when dropping back in coverage and provided a nice pass rush at times. It could be tough to choose between him and Corey Wootton, when he returns from injury.
2) Tim Jennings – He made eight tackles yesterday and was not a worry in pass coverage. The guy has been steady since coming to the Bears last season. He may be small, but he plays big and that’s why they like him.
3) Roy Williams – He reeled in four passes for 55 yards. He may have put up bigger numbers if not for a groin injury that he suffered in the second half. He can still play some football that’s for sure. Look for him to be a red zone target all year long.
Honorable mentions: FB Tyler Clutts, DT Amobi Okoye and P Adam Podlesh.
Expect the Bears to tune some things up before next week’s road game against another NFC South opponent, the New Orleans Saints.
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