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Instant Replay: What stood out in Falcons Week 11 matchup with Chicago Bears

Cordarrelle Patterson breaks the NFL's kickoff return record in win

ATLANTA -- Two of the league's most productive running offenses met in Atlanta on Sunday. Only one came out with the win, and that was the Falcons.

It was a game that saw records broken, and the defense make a few stands.

Here's a quick look at what stood out in the Falcons Week 11 27-24 win over the Chicago Bears.

Final minute stand

A long drive for Atlanta saw the Falcons take the 27-24 lead following a 53-yard field goal by Younghoe Koo. 

With 1:47 left in the game and all three timeouts, Chicago took over on their own 25 yard line. The Falcons defense needed a stand, and they got one as Jaylinn Hawkins came down with an interception on third and five.

With 1:06 left in the game, Atlanta ran out the clock with the help of a 26-yard run by Tyler Allgeier to get to the 27-24 win.

A record-setting day for the Falcons (in more ways than one)

Cordarrelle Patterson broke the NFL record for most kickoff returns in a single career during the second quarter of Sunday's game. With a 103-yard return for a touchdown in the second quarter of Sunday's game, Patterson now has nine total kickoff returns that have been returned for touchdowns. He also did so against his former team, the Bears.

With the 103-yard return, Patterson finished the game with 162 total all-purpose yards in the win.

That return is also the longest kickoff return in franchise history. The previous long was held by Eric Weems, who had a 102-yard return in 2010. Weems later tied that record in the postseason of that same year.

Though Patterson's record was the most exciting, and brought the most attention to the Falcons on Sunday, Grady Jarrett also moved up in career sacks. His sack on Justin Fields in the first quarter moved him into seventh in franchise history in career sacks. He now has 32, which is tied with Brady Smith. Jarrett has 5.5 sacks on the year for Atlanta.

Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson #84 returns a kick for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, November 20, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Bears benefit from solid field position in first half

Chicago had six possessions in the first half of Sunday's game in Atlanta. Of those six possessions, three of them started in Atlanta territory.

Justin Fields and company took over on the Atlanta 44-yard line in their first offensive drive after a 64-yard return set them up for a drive that would end in a 16-yard, third-down touchdown pass to Darnell Mooney.

Two drives later and Chicago was again in Atlanta territory, this time at the 41-yard line following a fumble on the punt return by Avery Williams. However, an impressive defensive series with Lorenzo Carter and Jarrett keeping pressure on Fields pushed Chicago back out of field goal range. They settled for a punt to end that drive.

Chicago's second-to-last offensive series started on the Atlanta 28-yard line following a fumble by Patterson on the first play of the Falcons drive. Patterson took off for a 19-yard pick up but the ball popped out on the tackle to bring him down. Chicago recovered and returned the ball to the Atlanta 28 yard line.

Pounding the ball on the ground to get well into the red zone, Fields took the ball in from four yards out to give Chicago the 17-7 lead with 4:31 left in the first half. Patterson would get his revenge, though, returning the following kickoff for a touchdown.

Even though the Falcons were able to catch up to the Bears and take a 17-all game into half time, the first half saw Chicago have too many opportunities (and too many points) from Falcons miscues on special teams and offense.

Justin Fields, contained

The story of the game coming into Sunday was how - exactly - the Falcons could contain Fields. In the last two games combined, Fields had accumulated over 300 rushing yards, averaging over 11 yards a carry for the Bears.

Mobile quarterbacks were a thorn in the side of Atlanta last year, and they were about to test any progress they had made in stopping running quarterbacks with Fields coming into town. And they did their job, with Fields finishing the game with 85 rushing yards. Though that may be a lot for some, in the case of Fields, keeping him under 100 rushing yards has been quite the task for teams in recent weeks.

The Falcons set the edge fairly well all game, with Carter and Arnold Ebiketie playing well for Atlanta in the win. The Falcons defense finished the day with four sacks and nine tackles for a loss, a significant increase from where they've been in the last few games against the Bengals, Chargers and Panthers.

The Fields effect, though, was the most evident on one play in particular: A third-and-12 situation in the fourth quarter in the red zone. Fields avoided three could-have-been sacks as Falcons defenders swarmed him. Instead, the quarterback ended up finding an opening receiver for a 14-yard pick up. It set up a touchdown by David Montgomery later, to tie the game once more at 24-all.

However, a long drive that ended in points for Atlanta with two minutes left to go and an interception by Hawkins iced the game.

Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the Chicago Bears during Week 11.


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