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updated: 9/11/2011 9:20 PM

Bears' tackles do decent job in opener

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  • Jay Cutler was sacked five times Sunday in the Bears' victory over Atlanta, but he also completed 22 of 32 passes for 312 yards.

    Jay Cutler was sacked five times Sunday in the Bears' victory over Atlanta, but he also completed 22 of 32 passes for 312 yards.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer


It was an up-and-down day for the Bears' offensive line.

Defensive linemen had 4 of the Falcons' 5 sacks (the other was a team sack), including 2 by John Abraham. J'Marcus Webb, in his first NFL game at left tackle after playing right tackle last season, was victimized on 1 of Abraham's sacks, and he was flagged for 2 holding penalties in the fourth quarter. The first negated a 19-yard reception by Kahlil Bell, and the second reduced an 18-yard run by Bell to a 6-yarder.

Rookie right tackle Gabe Carimi also struggled at times, and the ground game produced just 88 yards on 27 attempts for a disappointing 3.3-yard average. But, at other times, quarterback Jay Cutler had plenty of time to throw, as he completed 22 of 32 passes for 312 yards, 2 touchdowns and a passer rating of 107.8.

"Both guys have been out there and have been professionals," center Roberto Garza said of the Bears' young tackles. "They've worked hard every single day. They've gotten better. We've got a long way to go still.

"But both guys are out there communicating and getting the job done. And that's impressive. Both are big guys, talented guys and it's about getting better every day. In the NFL it's going to be up and down, and you've got to keep fighting through. Both guys did that today."

When right guard Lance Louis limped off with a sprained ankle in the second quarter, he was replaced by Chris Spencer, a center for almost all of his previous six NFL seasons with the Seahawks. Garza could have been moved to his old right guard spot, with Spencer taking over at center, but things worked out fine.

"(Offensive line) coach (Mike) Tice had a plan," Garza said. "Spence did a great job of stepping in and filling in with hardly taking any reps at guard. My hat's off to him."

Although Garza would have been more comfortable this season remaining at guard, his move to the middle has gone extremely well, according to Cutler.

"I haven't had one complaint about that guy since he stepped into that role and I don't think I will all year," Cutler said. "He's an unbelievable teammate, unbelievable offensive lineman, smart player. I could rave about him."

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