Atlanta Falcons drop third straight in 27-13 loss to Chicago Bears


The Atlanta Falcons have problems defensively. This isn’t exactly news to anyone. However, not many people expected them to have offensive problems inside the friendly confines of the Georgia Dome as well. Unfortunately, the Falcons simply couldn’t overcome the deluge of drops and penalties that afflicted the offense in a 27-13 home loss to the Chicago Bears.

The game started well, with the Falcons driving down the field on the way to a 52-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead. That score would actually hold up for the first quarter. Still, in the second quarter, the Bears tied the game with a field goal of their own. All in all, it felt like the Falcons were wasting opportunities as several key receivers like Roddy White and Julio Jones dropped passes that would have continued drives.

Those drops would cost the Falcons in latter part of the first half as the Bears went on a four and a half-minute, 79-yard touchdown drive capped off with Jay Cutler pass. Down 10-3, the Falcons desperately needed an answer to get back into the game since they got the ball first in the second half. Instead, a couple more receiver drops stopped the Falcons drive after just one first down, and the Bears got the ball back with 4:06 left on the clock. Cutler went on another passing spree that put the Bears in field goal range, and they made the kick to extend their lead to ten points at the half.

If the Falcons had any hope of getting back in the game, I felt like they had to get a score on their first possession of the second half. They did just that. Matt Ryan looked inspired as he passed down the field, connecting with Julio Jones twice for a combined 46 yards. They also overcame back to back holding calls that put the team in a 1st-and-29 situation, as Matt dumped a 3rd down screen to burner Antone Smith. Smith rumbled all the way to the house for 41 yards, much to the delight of the home crowd and his #playtone fans on Twitter.

With the dirty birds now down by only a field goal, the defense came up large with a 3-and-out stop of the Bears on the next possession. Giving the ball back to Matt Ryan, the Falcons were able to move the ball down into field goal range and tied the game at 13-13 with 6:19 left in the 3rd quarter.

Then, the wheels came off. Like every Falcons loss to this point, the defense has been unable to hold up down the stretch. This game was no different. While the defense performed admirably to hold the Bears to just 13 points throughout most of the game, they completely broke down late in the third quarter. On the second play after the Falcons tied the game, Jay Cutler heaved a ball to a wide open Alshon Jeffrey for 74 yards down to the Atlanta six yard line. Matt Forte punched the ball into the end zone on the next play, giving Chicago a 19-13 lead after a blocked extra point.

A missed extra point can often loom large in a tight game. Not here. In the Falcons world, when things start to go wrong, it’s like watching a giraffe slowly sink into a quicksand. It may take forever, but once it starts there’s no escape. The Falcons went 3-and-out on their next possession, giving Jay Cutler the ball right back. Jay always appreciates early Christmas presents like that. He paid the Falcons back with a 15-play, 87, eight and a half minute drive for a touchdown. If ever there was a demoralizing moment to the Falcons fans, it was that grinding non-effort by the Falcons defense right there.

The rest was academic. The Falcons lost their first game at home, and the Bears improved to 3-1 on the road. Matt Ryan was sacked four times as the offense simply couldn’t protect him. The real killer though was the running game. The Falcons finished with less than 50 yards total on the ground, and 3.2 yards a carry. They completely abandoned the run about mid-way through the game, and that was a huge mistake. Matt Ryan doesn’t have an offensive line to let him pass 35 times a game and stay clean. The sacks and the holding calls just racked up.

Next up, the Atlanta Falcons travel to Baltimore, where they will look to bounce back from this loss that dropped the team to 2-4. I am not positive about how this city will react to this loss, especially with the realization that the team does not play another game in the Georgia Dome until November 23 as a result of the trip to London. It’s exactly like the Jets loss the year before when the ship started to sink. Mike Smith and his coaching staff better find the bilge pump quickly, or they will find themselves unemployed at the end of this season.