DENVER -- This game wasn't about the Bears versus the Broncos as much as it was about Jay Cutler versus everything he no longer wanted to be a part of.
Cutler had his way Sunday night, just as he did last April when he forced the Broncos to trade him to the Bears.
It wasn't easy, but Cutler got out of Dodge with that familiar smirk on his face and a 27-17 victory over the team that didn't want him. In one half, he threw for 144 yards, completing 71 percent of his passes. He had a 106.1 passer rating in his former home.
Cutler credited his teammates with helping him rise to the challenge.
"The guys knew what kind of pressure I was going to be under," he said. "They came out and did a great job for me."
Broncos fans at Invesco Field let Cutler know exactly what they thought of him and his demand to be traded every time he walked in from the sideline. He was booed so loudly on the Bears' first possession, he couldn't hear the play in his headset and had to walk back to the sideline to get the play from a coach.
Broncos defenders took their shots as well.
The most satisfying hit may have come from outside linebacker Darrell Reid on an incompletion from the back of the Bears' end zone. Reid sent Cutler flying backward, and outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil took a few verbal jabs at Chicago's superhero.
"Elvis always has lot to say," Cutler said. "He's a high-motor guy. I love him to death. I wish him a lot of luck."
Dumervil later knocked down Cutler after an incompletion and was called for roughing the passer. The penalty angered Bears center Olin Kreutz, who got into Dumervil's grill, and the two exchanged a few mild shoves. The 15-yard penalty helped the Bears score their only Cutler-led touchdown.
It was a 6-yard pass from Cutler to Forte that capped a 12-play, 98-yard drive. The play put the Bears up 17-3.
"To go 98 yards in this league is hard," Cutler said. "That's two weeks in a row we had 90-yard-plus drives. We're getting there offensively."
Dumervil earlier had grabbed Cutler around the head and neck at the end of a play. Cutler complained to an official afterward, then jawed at Dumervil as they were walking off the field.
The Bears' first touchdown had almost nothing to do with Cutler. They started on the Denver 4 after a 54-yard Devin Hester punt return. Hester fielded the ball near the left numbers and slanted across the field and up the right sideline.
Two plays later, Forte scored on a 1-yard jump for a 10-3 lead.
"We've seen that before how Devin can ignite a team," coach Lovie Smith said.
Rather than expose Cutler to further abuse from his former friends, Smith opted to rest him in the second half. When Cutler left the game, the buzz left with him. The crowd went flat, and many headed for the exits as the second half went on.
Asked about the emotions of the game, Cutler said. "They started off really fast. We didn't get the best field position -- we were kind of pinned down there. We just knew our defense was going to hold up and we were going to get better field position.
"Eventually we did, and we got a few good drives together. That last drive was a long one. We were out there a long time. Emotions [were] running high, not only for us but for them."
Kyle Orton, who was traded to Denver for Cutler, did not embarrass himself in his first chance against his former team. He completed 12 of 16 for 96 yards in what Bears fans would have determined to be a very Ortonish performance.
"Kyle looked pretty good," Bears cornerback Trumaine McBride said. "He managed the game well for them and didn't turn the ball over."
Orton left late in the second quarter with a finger injury.
Despite all the focus on Cutler and Orton, the quarterback with the longest completion was Denver's Tom Brandstater, who connected with Kenny McKinley on a 54-yard pass that led to a fourth quarter touchdown.
Bears backup Caleb Hanie hooked up with rookie Johnny Knox for a bomb of his own, a 43-yard fourth-quarter completion. The play set up a 12-yard Adrian Peterson touchdown run.
Another former Bear got in the revenge game in the third quarter. Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd -- remember him? -- caught a 16-yard pass to the Bears' 1, setting up a Peyton Hillis touchdown run.
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