Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said that the noise created by Chicago Bears fans at the Georgia Dome in the teams' game last week made it difficult for the Falcons offense to communicate, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Bears running back Matt Forte's nine-yard touchdown run with 10:07 remaining in the fourth quarter last Sunday gave Chicago a 27-13 lead, at which point many Falcons fans left the stadium.
The remaining Bears fans in the stadium, thanks to the echo effect created by so much empty space, disrupted Atlanta's offense.
"Believe it or not for a home game, we had to go to a silent count because there was enough noise in the dome,” Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said. “Noise always echoes both for us and against us. That’s only the second time since I’ve been here that we had to go to a silent count at home.”
Though he stopped short of criticizing the home fans for leaving, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who had to use a timeout at one point because some offensive players couldn't hear the calls, admitted it was a "tough one" to have so many fans leave when they did.
The Falcons had won both of their previous home games this season before losing to the Bears while losing all three of their road games. The team now plays on the road in three of its next four games, beginning this Sunday at the Baltimore Ravens.
Atlanta is in third place in the NFC South at 2-4, while the Bears are in third place in the NFC North at 3-3.
- Ben Estes