Chicago at Atlanta: Three Things We Learned
It is pretty safe to assume that coming home was a good thing for the Atlanta Falcons.
Two straight losses one the road and the Chicago Bears coming to town, this was a pretty important game for these Falcons – almost “must-win” like. But the Bears and Jay Cutler (who I started this week on my fantasy team) had other ideas.
Behind Cutler’s arm and the running of Matt Forte, the Bears reached a 3-3 record on the season with a 27-13 win.
Cutler passed for 381 yards and a touchdown, Matt Forte ran for a couple of second-half scores, and the Chicago 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."
Chicago (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.
Here are three things we learned from this game.
CUTLER’S ON FIRE
Jay Cutler threw for 381 yards targeting only five different players Sunday, the fourth instance of a quarterback targeting only five different players in a game (Aaron Rodgers Week 1 and Week 4 and Eli Manning in Week 3). In the previous three instances, the quarterback averaged only 241.7 yards in the game. Cutler was much more effective.
Cutler thrived throwing downfield on Sunday, connecting on 5-of-7 passes for 191 yards at least 15 yards downfield.
Matt Ryan struggled downfield for the first time at home this season. Ryan was 4-of-11 for 90 yards and an interception throwing at least 15 yards downfield Sunday, his first home game completing less than three-quarters of his deep throws. Ryan was 15-of-19 for 363 yards and a touchdown throwing deep in his two previous home games (2-0 record).
While Ryan struggles, Antone Smith showed he could carry the load. With a 41-yard receiving touchdown in the third quarter, Smith now has three straight games with a touchdown of 40 or more yards, tied for the longest such streak since the 2001 season with Terrell Owens, Darrell Jackson, Nate Washington and Josh Gordon.
RUNNING IS HIS FORTE
Matt Forte had two rushing touchdowns for the Bears today. Chicago entered the game with just 1 rush touchdown this season, tied for the fewest in the NFL.
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