Chicago’s takeaways after victory in Atlanta

The 27-13 final score on Sunday didn’t really seem to show the dominance of the Chicago Bears in the second half inside the Georgia Dome. They would outscore the Falcons 14-10 in the final 30 minutes of the game, however they completely kept them off-balance offensively.

The Falcons did show some good things on defense at times during the game. For example, they were able to get to Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler for three sacks and got off the field on third down at times with huge pass breakups. The good things would only last so long, when the Bears would finally strike the knockout blow.

It came in the second Chicago offensive possession of the third quarter. One first down, the Falcons brought pressure and forced an errant pass from Cutler over the head of his running back Matt Forte. The next play swung the game wide open with Cutler going deep for former South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey to meet up for a 74-yard catch and run down to the Falcons six-yard line. The very next play Matt Forte would get the handoff to head to the end zone to put the Bears up 19-13. Veteran pass rusher Jared Allen got a good look at those plays

“When he (Cutler) had that huge pass like that you could feel the momentum shift back,” Allen said. “They went out, got 10 points and kind of expended themselves. We took it right back. Hats off to our offense and Jay, that was a heck of a throw and heck of a catch. That play you could feel kind of took some of the steam out of the crowd. We get them off the field again and then once we’re up 14 we knew.”

The Bears completely shut out the Falcons in the fourth quarter. Not only did they keep them off the scoreboard, but they also kept them from converting a single third down in the final 15 minutes. The Falcons ended up finishing the final quarter 0-3. Allen says the Bears had a game plan to end up pulling away from the Falcons and they succeeded.

“We knew if they were able to run the ball successfully by packing the box, chip, and max pro(tect) it would be a long day because Matt (Ryan) gets rid of the ball fast as it is,” Allen said. “With those receivers we didn’t want to put extra stress on our DB’s. That’s a testament to our DB’s, they gave us extra time in the fourth quarter. Matt had to pat the ball a little bit and we were able to get there. I thought all day we did a pretty good job of getting pressure and putting them in third and long a lot, then forcing them to spread us to create some one on one options. Just taking advantage of what we saw on film. I thought if we could get into a rush rhythm we could have some success and we were able to.”

The Bears did find success with the vertical passing game, with a 47-yard pass from Cutler to Jeffrey in the first half and 26 yard throw to Brandon Marshall. You cannot forget about the 25 yard pass from Cutler to his tight end Martellus Bennett.

In the passing game, Cutler completed five passes for over 20 yards. The effectiveness of the vertical passing game might not have happened numerous times, however it was when they were thrown. Marshall was surprised they could find success throwing the football down the field.

“They don’t really give up deep balls,” Marshall said. “That’s not what they do. Coach (Mike) Nolan has those guys playing hard. I have a lot of respect for those guys in the secondary.”

The Falcons did pickup three passes defended against the tall receivers for the Bears in this game. That said, the Bears defense was able to keep the Falcons from gaining any momentum with the consistent pass rush that sacked Matt Ryan four times and hit him seven times. Plus, Ryan uncorked an interception in the fourth quarter.

The score might have said one thing, but the Bears and everyone else knows that it was the extremely dominant second half performance that ended up sending the Falcons to their fourth loss of the season.



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