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updated: 9/11/2011 9:22 PM

Bears throttle Falcons' high-flying attack

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  • Julius Peppers and Henry Melton pop Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in the fourth quarter of the Bears' victory Sunday at Solider Field.

      Julius Peppers and Henry Melton pop Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in the fourth quarter of the Bears' victory Sunday at Solider Field.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer


The Bears' defense held the high-powered Falcons' offense without a touchdown Sunday at Soldier Field during their 30-12 victory.

It was the third time in eight season openers that a Lovie Smith-coached team held an opponent without a TD.

"They're a good offense, I don't care what anyone says," linebacker Brian Urlacher said. "We still have a lot of respect for them. We gave up some yards on the ground early. (Michael) Turner's a good back, he kind of gashed us there a little bit, but we made plays, guys got to the quarterback (5 sacks), our DBs were hitting as usual, and we got downhill and made some plays."

Urlacher's 19th career interception gave him sole possession of third place among linebackers in franchise history, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Bill George. Urlacher now trails only Doug Buffone (24) and Dick Butkus (22).

Turned gained 100 yards on just 10 carries, but the Falcons ran just five times in the second half after falling behind 23-6.

Splitting it up:

Wide receivers Roy Williams, Devin Hester and Johnny Knox and running back Matt Forte all had at least 55 yards and 3 receptions in a balanced attack.

"I knew I was going to have a chance to get in," said Knox, who is behind Williams on the depth chart but had 3 catches for 60 yards. "In this offense, the ball can go anywhere. When I got in, I just tried to make the best of it."

Since Williams (4 catches for 55 yards) left the game in the fourth quarter with a groin injury, Knox may get a few more chances this week in New Orleans.

Extra points:

Jay Cutler had a 107.8 passer rating Sunday, and his teams are now 23-0 when he has a passer rating of over 100, including a 13-0 record with the Bears. ... Cornerback Charles Tillman's first-quarter forced fumble was the 25th of his career, the most by a defensive back since he entered the league in 2003. ... Four out of Robbie Gould's 6 kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. One was returned to the 15-yard line and another only to the 12, and a holding penalty moved it back to the 6-yard line. ... Long-snapper Patrick Mannelly has now played in 14 seasons with the Bears, tying Doug Buffone and Bill George for most years of service in franchise history. Mannelly's 206 games played are the most by a Bear.

In and out:

Matt Toeaina started at nose tackle in place of Anthony Adams, who missed the entire preseason with a calf injury, but both played extensively. ... Sunday's inactives were quarterback Nathan Enderle, running back Marion Barber (calf), guard Edwin Williams, wide receiver Sam Hurd (ankle), defensive tackle Stephen Paea and defensive ends Corey Wootton (knee) and Mario Addison.

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