Cutler leads Bears over Falcons

As the saying goes, there is no place like home.

The Falcons could not agree more as they lost two tough road games against Minnesota and the New York Giants the last two weeks. So they were glad to be back at the Georgia Dome on Sunday to face the Chicago Bears because the Falcons’ two wins this season came at home.

However, Jay Cutler was able the shred the Falcons defense, throwing for 381 yards to lead the Bears over the Falcons 27-13.

“We put ourselves in tough situations,” Head coach Mike Smith said. “We were not able to get anything going on offensively.”

The Falcons had their share of troubles on offense as they converted only 1-of-4 third downs. While the Bears totaled 275 yards of offense in the first half, the Falcons only had 98 yards. Matt Ryan was 7-of-13 in the first half, but his receivers did not help him out in terms of making catches. Julio Jones had two drops while Roddy White had one.

However, it looked liked the Falcons have turned things around in the second half when they opened the third quarter with a 86-yard drive that ended with a Ryan 41-yard touchdown pass to Antone Smith. And after forcing the Bears to go three-and-out on the ensuing series, the Falcons put together another drive that ended with a Matt Bryant 54-yard field goal to tie the game at 13.

“It was a great pay call,” Smith said who now has six total touchdowns this season. “I made a great catch and the receivers did a great job blocking on the inside.”

But the Bears took over and never looked back after that.

Chicago responded to the Bryant field goal when Matt Forte scored on a 6-yard run to take back the lead. The Bears would add on to their lead early in the fourth quarter when Forte scored on a 9-yard run, and the Falcons could never get anything going on offense.

“We are not playing very efficiently, in terms of completing third downs,” Smith said whose team converted only four of 13 third downs in the loss. “You can’t have that type of percentage.”

One of the reasons the Falcons could not convert third downs was the fact that Ryan was pressured all game long. He was sacked four times and was hit seven more times. On the flip side, Cutler was sacked three times and was hit six times. But the Bears protected him in key situations including a 74-yard pass to Alshon Jeffery that set up the go-ahead score in the third quarter, and Cutler also hit on a 47-yards pass to Brandon Marshall that set up the first touchdown for the Bears in the second quarter.

“All throughout the course of the game we had many opportunities to capitalize on all three phases of the game,” defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi said. “We have to rally around one another and go back out there this week with our mind focused, and get ready for the Ravens.”

This loss hurts because the Falcons won’t be back at home until Nov. 23. In between that time, the Falcons will be at Baltimore (next Sunday), against Detroit which will be played in London, at Tampa Bay and at Carolina with a bye week in the middle of that stretch. As bad as it looks now for the Falcons, who are now 2-4, they have to move forward and try and snap the losing skid quickly in order to achieve their goals for the 2014 season.

“There’s a whole lot of football to be played,” Smith said. “The teams that play effectively and efficiently, there’re the ones that are going to be in the mix. We’ve got to play more effectively and efficiently than we have over the last three weeks.”

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