Atlanta Falcons Blow Second Straight 15-point Fourth-Quarter Lead, Lose 30-26 to Bears
The Atlanta Falcons hosted the Chicago Bears Sunday in what was a must-win game for the home team. Atlanta was without several contributors including Julio Jones, Takk McKinley, Kaleb McGary and Ricardo Allen.
Chicago received the opening kick and mounted a drive down the field, but a missed 46-yard field-goal attempt by Cairo Santos left the Bears empty-handed.
Matt Ryan and the Falcons' offense got out to a fast start, with their first play from scrimmage being a 63-yard completion to Calvin Ridley, who was knocked out of bounds at the 1-yard line.
Ryan threw a touchdown to Hayden Hurst two plays later to cap off the three-play touchdown drive. Younghoe Koo missed the extra-point, giving the Falcons a 6-0 lead with 9:43 left in the opening quarter.
After another stalled Bears drive, a successful 35-yard field goal by Santos cut the Atlanta lead to 6-3 with 2:47 remaining in the first.
The Falcons responded with a field-goal drive of their own after the teams exchanged punts, giving Atlanta a 9-3 lead with 8:35 left in the second.
After another Bears punt, Brian Hill rushed for a 35-yard touchdown to give the Falcons a 16-3 lead with 4:37 remaining in the first half.
After a 45-yard run by Mitch Trubisky the Bears were able to narrow the margin with a touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham, and went into the half trailing the Falcons 16-10. Trubisky might as well have been a football on an onside kick on the run, because the Falcons wouldn't touch him.
Atlanta got the ball to start the second half, and hit the ground running with a drive that quickly found them in the red zone after another deep completion to Ridley. Gurley rushed for a 9-yard touchdown to give the Falcons a 23-10 lead with 12:34 left in the third quarter.
After Trubisky threw an interception in the middle of the third quarter, the Bears elected to make a quarterback change, switching to veteran Nick Foles. Foles led the Bears down the field on his first drive, but Darqueze Dennard was able to wrestle away a potential touchdown catch from Allen Robinson for the interception in the end zone. The play was originally called a touchdown on the field, but was overturned to an interception.
Atlanta carried a 26-10 lead into the fourth quarter, and a missed field goal from Koo at the 13:35 mark left the door open for Chicago, keeping the score at a two-possession game.
Foles led the Bears down the field again, with another awkward big play happening when Foles found Graham despite him seemingly being double-covered. Both defenders stood aimlessly as the ball went over their heads for a long completion.
The Bears were unable to score a touchdown after a couple negative plays. They had fourth-and-goal from the 17-yard line, and were unable to convert, turning the ball over on downs after a touchdown catch by Anthony Miller was overturned. Falcons lead 26-10 with 10:40 to play.
Foles found Graham for a touchdown with 6:20 remaining in the fourth, but the Bears were unable to convert the two-point conversion. The Falcons lead 26-16 with 6:20 to go.
The Falcons gave the ball back to the Bears in one minute of game time, as they had a three-and-out with two incomplete passes. Chicago fair caught the punt on their own 44-yard line with 5:20 to go. Here we go again?
Robinson broke free for a 37-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 26-23 with 4:21 to play. After three incompletions and a late-hit on the punt, the Bears possessed the ball in Falcons territory with 3:59 remaining.
On a third-and-long play after the two-minute warning, Foles found Miller for a 28-yard touchdown to give the Bears a 30-26 lead with 1:53 to go.
Ryan was intercepted by Tashaun Gipson with 1:06 to play, a turnover that ultimately might spell the end for Dan Quinn as Falcons head coach. We will see what the organization decides, but these two consecutive collapses might do it.
Ryan finished 19 for 38 with 238 yards with one touchdown and the aforementioned interception. Ridley had five catches for 110 yards. Notably, the Falcons run game got going today. Gurley and Hill combined for 23 carries, 138 yards and two touchdowns, but it was not enough.
The Falcons will be in action next Monday night against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, with or without Dan Quinn.