ATLANTA – After throwing two costly interceptions in last weekend's loss to the Panthers, Jay Cutler rebounded with an impressive mistake-free outing Sunday at the Georgia Dome.
He completed 26 of 38 passes for 381 yards—his most in six seasons with the Bears—with one touchdown, no turnovers and a 109.6 passer rating in a 27-13 win over the Falcons.
"What impressed me most about Jay was No. 1 the way he started the week," said coach Marc Trestman. "This couldn't have been a more difficult week for a quarterback of the Chicago Bears and he came in on Monday and Tuesday and he worked at it. His demeanor didn't change. It wasn't any different this week than it was after [wins] over San Francisco and New York."
Cutler gave the Bears a 10-3 lead in the second quarter with a 3-yard touchdown strike to Josh Morgan—after sustaining the drive with a 47-yard pass to Brandon Marshall on third-and-six. In the third quarter, Cutler's 74-yard bomb to Alshon Jeffery set up the Bears' go-ahead touchdown.
Cutler also completed passes of 26 yards to Jeffery and 25 yards to tight end Martellus Bennett, but didn't realize he had thrown for the most yards in a game since he joined the Bears in 2009.
"They said it in [the locker room] and it didn't feel like it," Cutler said. "We got some big shots and the long one to Alshon always helps. But I didn't know that. I was kind of surprised."
Containing Devin: The Bears held Devin Hester in check Sunday. They allowed their former star to return two of six kickoffs for 26 and 18 yards and two of five punts for 12 and minus-two yards.
Robbie Gould recorded three touchbacks and squibbed one kickoff with :02 left in the first half. Rookie Pat O'Donnell kicked one punt out of bounds, one in the end zone for a touchback and forced Hester to call one fair catch.
"I thought Pat had a tremendous week kicking the football, directionally kicking," Trestman said. "We knew that we would have to wrap our arms around our special teams by putting them on a long field and making sure offensively we were on a short field.
"It wasn't perfect, but that was our attempt to try to put Devin in a position where he couldn't hurt us. I thought our coverage teams did an excellent job."
Teddy Williams made an excellent play midway through the third quarter when he dropped Hester for a two-yard loss on a punt return.
Key play: The game's momentum swung on Cutler's 74-yard pass to Jeffery after the Falcons had tied the score 13-13 with a touchdown and field goal on their first two possessions of the second half.
"We had Brandon on a diagonal and we had Alshon on a pylon route to the deep corner," Trestman said. "More than anything it was the protection. Alshon split the safeties. Really the ball could have gone to either guy. Alshon was open deep and Brandon was open on the crossing route."
"We called it the play before, but I flipped it and called it wrong," Cutler said. "So [Trestman] dialed it up again and we got the look over there; quarters to [Jeffery's] side and safeties low. I just had to kind of wait for Alshon to get out there. He did a great job of adjusting to the ball. If I would have put a little more on it he probably would have scored."
Surprise party: The Bears surprised the Falcons by calling a draw play to Forte on third-and-goal from the 9 early in the fourth quarter. Forte powered into the end zone to increase his team's lead to 27-13.
"It was an unbelievable effort," Cutler said. "It's not necessarily a play we like to call that far out. But we felt good about it and dialed it up. [Guard Matt Slauson] and the rest of the guys got a heck of a push and Matt just followed them in. That was pretty cool to see."
This and that: Forte became the 58th player in NFL history to rush for at least 7,000 yards. … Michael Ola made his second straight start at left tackle for the injured Jermon Bushrod (knee and ankle). … Safety Chris Conte exited early in the second half with a shoulder injury. He was replaced by Brock Vereen.