Matt Forte averaged 4.3 yards per carry, but the Bears gained just four of their 17 first downs via the rush. Besides that, a good portion of Forte's 68 yards rushing came on one attempt, in which he made a razor-sharp cut to break free. Typically, the timing in most teams' rushing attacks is a little off early in the season. But that should improve in time once Marion Barber is back into the lineup.
Jay Cutler produced another 100-plus passer rating game and connected with eight receivers, but the offensive line gave up five sacks. Those sacks, the Bears' 1-for-3 touchdown effort in the red zone and Cutler's INT returned for a TD drop this grade. The passing offense displayed explosive elements that provide hope about the group finally developing.
The Bears typically don't allow 100-yard rushers, but Michael Turner gained 100 yards on 10 carries, with the majority of that yardage coming on a 53-yard gash in the third quarter. Take away that big gain and Turner still would have averaged 5.2 yards per carry. Despite the Falcons averaging 7.9 yards rushing, they managed to gain just three of their first downs on the ground.
The secondary shut out Matt Ryan, holding him to no touchdown passes, while the defensive line sacked him five times and recorded 11 QB hits, including seven from Henry Melton. Brian Urlacher intercepted a pass and broke up another, in addition to returning a fumble for a TD after a Julius Peppers sack. Charles Tillman broke up two passes, while D.J. Moore and Nick Reed broke up one each.
Apparently Robbie Gould, Adam Podlesh and Patrick Mannelly worked through whatever preseason issues they had with the snap/hold combination on field goals, because Gould was able to nail three without any visual problems. Gould also forced touchbacks on four kickoffs and the coverage unit pinned the Falcons at the 15 on one other occasion.
Martz called a fairly balanced game on offense with 27 rushes and 32 passes. More importantly, he put together an offensive game plan that kept Atlanta off balance, while offensive line coach Mike Tice devised protections that gave Cutler sufficient time to find targets. On defense, the Bears bottled up Atlanta's explosive offense with simple schematics highlighted by precise execution.