A FOND MEMORY: Maybe the most memorable play of the Falcons' season in 2008 was quarterback Matt Ryan's 26-yard pass completion to Michael Jenkins that set up Elam's field goal as time expired in a 22-20 win over the Bears at the Georgia Dome.
The Bears, trailing 19-13, took the lead with 11 seconds left on running back Matt Forte's touchdown run.
Harry Douglas returned the Bears' squib kick on the kickoff to the Falcons' 44 yard-line with six seconds left. Then with one perfectly executed play and throw, Ryan set up Elam with one second left at the Bears' 30 to win the game.
What was amazing about the play was its precision: the throw had to be long enough to get Elam within range, fast enough not to allow the clock to expire and accurate enough to get Jenkins out of bounds to stop the clock.
Rather than dwelling much on last year – the game was exactly one year ago on Monday -- Ryan was more content to focus on Sunday.
"That was a good play for us last year," Ryan said. "We had, I guess the squib kick, and got it out and then completed the out route with a couple of seconds left and then Jason came out and made a field goal, so it was a big win. That was a big win, but it's done. That was last year and this is a different team coming in here and we're a different football team at this point this year."
Ryan was asked if he had confidence in offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey's play call -- the hardest throw for a quarterback to make.
"You have to believe that in those situations that you're going to make a play, so I felt it was a good call and we got it done."
Not surprisingly, Bears head coach Lovie Smith did not want to focus on that play much either.
"It was just another loss we had last year," Smith said. "We didn't finish the job. Hopefully, this year we can finish the job."
TURNING THE CORNER: With his 97 yards rushing on Sunday, Michael Turner is heading back towards the top of the list of leaders in yards per game. His 80.8 yards per game average ranks seventh in the league and his 323 yards rank 13th, but with the Falcons' early bye week a number of players have played more games than Turner.
So far Turner has hit the 100-yard mark only once this season in four tries. So did it bother him -- let alone the fantasy football league owners who have him on their team -- to come so close and not go over the top?
"Uh, yeah," Turner said with a laugh. "When they said I was done [playing] I didn't know the stats but then someone told me later on in the game and I was like -- we were winning, we got the 'W,' so it didn't matter -- but it would've been nice to have those extra 3 yards."
While Turner ranks among the league leaders in a glamour category, he also is tied for first among the top 50 running backs in a dubious one: fumbles. His three fumbles tie him with Houston's Steve Slaton and Oakland's Darren McFadden.
"I don't think it's a conscious thing that people are doing," Turner said. "I just have to be more careful with the football. Last week I let the ball get away from me. I raised my arm and the guy was right there and he slapped it. If I kept it to my body, that never would have happened."
EVENTS AND PROMOTIONS:On Sunday the first 10,000 fans to arrive at Falcons Landing will receive hard hats as part of the Falcons' "Defend the Dome" promotion.
Ford is the presenting sponsor.
Fans also can go to DefendTheDome.com and play a video game and win prizes. Each week, the top 10 performers will receive prizes from their Local Ford Dealer that include a Falcons Fantasy prize pack consisting of two premium tickets, 100 Dome Dollars and VIP sideline passes. Other prizes include autographed jerseys, footballs and tailgate kits…
The Falcons are partnering with the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta on Sunday to collect money to help victims of the recent flooding across the region who have had difficulty meeting basic needs.
Fans can make donations at Falcons Landing or at a Dome Service Center. They will be collected at Gates A, B, C, D and E and at Gate Upper C and D. Donations will be accepted until the end of the third quarter.