Final

Bears 14

(2-0, 1-0 away)

Falcons 13

(0-2, 0-1 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, September 15, 2002

 

1 2 3 4 T
CHI 0 7 7 014
ATL 0 10 3 013

Falcons lose heartbreaker to Bears

ATLANTA (AP) -- Another week, another close call for the Chicago Bears.

Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen
Question on the Falcons: Could losing two tight games to start the year affect Atlanta's whole season?
I don't think so. I'm not sure how optimistic they were about winning these first two games against quality opponents (Week 1 was an overtime loss to Green Bay). Next week, they might match up better against the Bengals.

Question on the Bears: How do you explain their good fortune and penchant for winning close games?
It's their style of play -- a hard-nosed style that suits the black-and-blue division, featuring tough defense and a smash-mouthed running game. The Bears are going to look ugly and it might appear that they're lucky, but they have pretty good personnel. And this system of winning has been with the Bears long before Miller and Urlacher -- it goes back to McMahon and Singletary.

Eric Allen played 14 seasons in the NFL for the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

Atlanta's Jay Feely missed a 45-yard field goal with 56 seconds remaining and the Bears held on for a 14-13 victory Sunday, giving Chicago its first 2-0 start since 1991.

A week earlier, the Bears rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter, beating Minnesota 27-23 when Jim Miller threw a touchdown pass to David Terrell with 28 seconds left.

Miller and Terrell hooked up for another TD against the Falcons, a 14-yarder early in the third quarter that put Chicago ahead to stay.

This time, the Bears had to hold on at the end. They got help from an overturned call and Feely's second miss of the game.

"Neither game has been pretty, but we'll take it,'' said Bears receiver Dez White, who dropped a TD pass.

Brian Urlacher was a dominating force against the Falcons for the second year in a row. He recovered a fumble, sacked Michael Vick twice and finished with a game-high 12 tackles.

On one play, Urlacher hurdled a would-be blocker to pressure Vick into an incompletion. Another time, the Bears linebacker dived at Vick and missed, only to crawl off the turf and make the sack.

Vick put the Falcons (0-2) in position to win at the end, driving his team 44 yards with a quarterback draw and two completions.

On second-and-1 from the Chicago 28 and more than a minute left, Warrick Dunn and Vick both failed on conservative runs. Atlanta coach Dan Reeves then decided to settle for a field goal attempt.

Feely, who booted a 52-yarder to force overtime the previous week at Green Bay, hooked his kick a couple of feet wide of the left upright, leaving the Georgia Dome sellout crowd of 68,459 in stunned silence.

"Those are easy kicks,'' Feely said. "I just didn't get the job done for my team.''

Vick played much better than he did the previous year in a 31-3 loss to the Bears. In that game, Urlacher recovered a fumble by the Atlanta quarterback and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown.

Vick completed 17 of 28 passes for 166 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown to Dunn. Vick also led the Falcons in rushing with 56 yards on 10 carries.

The Falcons, who managed only 78 yards in the second half, were denied a big play with about four minutes left. Vick scrambled away from a fierce rush and threw a pass that went through the hands of Chicago safety Mike Brown, who has been at the center of so many of the Bears' improbable victories.

Falcons receiver Willie Jackson, sprawled on the turf at the Chicago 22, appeared to make the catch. Vick clasped his hands in thanks and Jackson had a big smile, but the Bears challenged the call.

After reviewing the replay, referee Jeff Triplette said the ball had rolled off Jackson's left arm and touched the turf before he cradled it.

"That would've made a big difference in the game,'' said Jackson. "At least we get a field goal out of that.''

The Falcons took a 10-7 lead when Feely made a 37-yarder on the final play of the first half. But the complexion changed early in the third quarter, when the Falcons lost three fumbles in the span of 3:48.

Dunn was stripped on Atlanta's second offensive play of the half, Kahlil Hill fumbled on a punt return, and Vick lost the ball trying to scramble.

The fumble by Hill, who was activated after regular returner Allen Rossum was hurt in practice Friday, led to Chicago's winning touchdown. On third-and-8 from the Atlanta 14, Miller hooked up with Terrell over the middle with 9:27 left in the third.

The Falcons absorbed an agonizing loss for the second week in a row, losing the opener to Green Bay 37-34 in overtime at Lambeau Field.

The Bears went three and out on their first four possessions. They finally picked up a first down with 5:33 left in the first half, sparking a 10-play, 86-yard TD drive. Anthony Thomas scored on a 3-yard run to tie the game at 7.

The Falcons played without star cornerback Ray Buchanan, who began serving a four-game suspension for using anabolic steroids.

Juran Bolden, making only the second start of his career, broke up a couple of early passes. The Bears spent the rest of the game picking on the other cornerback, Ashley Ambrose, who was beaten on Terrell's TD reception.

Game notes


Bears DT Ted Washington went out with a sprained left ankle early in the second quarter and didn't return. ... Travis Jervey, filling in for Rossum on kick returns, had a 67-yard return after Chicago's second TD to set up an Atlanta field goal. ... The Falcons are 24-9 since the start of the 1997 season when leading at halftime, but 0-2 this season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

THIRD QUARTERCHIATL
chiTD9:33Touchdown
Drive info: 3 plays, 16 yds, 0:09
1310
chi9:33
Drive info: 3 plays, 16 yds, 0:09
1410
atlFG6:13Jay Feely 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 14 yds, 2:24
1413
SECOND QUARTERCHIATL
atlFG0:05Jay Feely 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 55 yds, 1:41
710
chiTD1:31Anthony Thomas, 3 yd run
Drive info: 10 plays, 86 yds, 4:03
67
atlTD11:39Touchdown
Drive info: 8 plays, 37 yds, 13:46
06
chi1:31
Drive info: 10 plays, 86 yds, 4:03
77
atl11:39
Drive info: 8 plays, 37 yds, 13:46
07