By Dan Durkin-
(CBS) With their 27-13 win over the Falcons on Sunday, the Bears evened their record at 3-3 on the season. When you look into the box scores, a pattern has developed. In the Bears’ three wins, quarterback Jay Cutler hasn’t thrown a single interception. In the Bears three losses, Cutler has thrown two interceptions in each game.
Cutler finished Sunday’s game 26-for-38 for 381 yards (his highest total as a Bear), one touchdown and a passer rating of 109.6 as the Bears didn’t turn the ball over. Averaging 10 yards per attempt is a gaudy total, but the game plan was designed to take some shots down the field.
“We came into it knowing we had to get some chunks,” Cutler said. “We couldn’t just dink and dunk, we had to get some chunks. I thought Trest (coach Marc Trestman) did a great job — all the coaches — of installing this plan and then dialing up some shots so that we could try to push the ball a little bit.”
The Bears had four explosive pass plays (18 yards or more) on the day, none bigger than Cutler’s 74-yard bomb to Alshon Jeffery in the third quarter that set up the go-ahead touchdown after Atlanta had tied the game at 13.
“We got the look over there with quarters on his side and the safeties low, so I couldn’t wait for Alshon to get out there,” Cutler said. “He did a great job of adjusting to the ball. I could’ve put a little more on it and he probably would’ve scored.”
Heading into the game, Cutler ranked 21st in yards per attempt, numbers that are on the rise after Sunday’s performance.
Allen, Young step up on D
When the Bears spent $35 million in free agency on defensive ends Lamarr Houston, Willie Young and Jared Allen, the plan was to build a lead and make their opponent one-dimensional. Against the Falcons, that plan came to fruition.
“We had a great game plan going in,” Allen said. “We knew if we could get a lead, get them to pump the ball once or twice that we could get at them and there in the fourth quarter we were able to do that. I thought the pressure all day was huge, the disruptions, batted balls, throwing their rhythm by forcing (Matt Ryan) to throw the ball earlier than he wanted to and really making him move off his spot.”
After the Falcons scored 10 points on their first two possessions of the second half to tie the game up, the Bears offense responded with 14 straight points, effectively cutting the Falcons’ playbook in half.
On the Falcons’ final three possessions, Allen recorded his first sack as a member of the Bears and drew a holding penalty on the next play, while Young picked up two sacks, raising his total to seven on the season.
After Allen picked up his first sack, he incited the Bears fans in attendance enough that the Falcons were forced to burn a timeout.
“Our fans travel deep,” Allen said. “This was almost like a home game.”
Dan Durkin covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.