Bears win home opener over Falcons, 30-12

September 12, 2011

by Tony Arnold and The Associated Press

(AP/Nam Y. Huh)
Bears head coach Lovie Smith (left) and Julius Peppers celebrate Brian Urlacher's (54) fumble recovery Sunday.

The Chicago Bears are celebrating their win over the Atlanta Falcons in the season opener at Soldier Field. The Bears won 30-12 Sunday.

Brian Urlacher had an interception and returned a fumble for a touchdown and Jay Cutler threw for 312 yards and two scores. In a matchup between reigning division champions, it was no contest. This one clearly belonged to Chicago. Urlacher picked off Ryan to set up an early 56-yard touchdown catch by Matt Forte, and in the third quarter the linebacker picked up a fumble by Ryan and scored from 12 yards to make it 30-6. That came on one of two sacks by Julius Peppers. Henry Melton also had two sacks and the Bears got to Ryan five times in all.

Cutler completed 22 of 32 passes in his first game at Soldier Field since the Bears' loss to Green Bay in the NFC title game. Ryan completed 31 of 47 passes for 319 yards.

Leading up to the game, the players had been complaining about the turf at Soldier Field, saying the natural grass is known for divots. Bears Linebacker Brian Urlacher said after the game the turf wasn't so bad.

"I normally don't slip when I'm out there because I'm not fast enough to slip. So it didn't really bother me," Urlacher said after the game. "I complain about it a lot but it never bothers me but it bothers our receivers when it's bad. But it was good today, I didn't see a lot of slips."

Urlacher said that even though the Bears won, they have a long way to go to equal the success of last season in which the Bears were one game away from the Super Bowl. Next up, the Bears play in New Orleans to take on the Saints.