The Atlanta Falcons (0-3) looked to be in complete control of Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears (3-0), but a 20-point fourth quarter by the visiting team helped Chicago come back and knock off Atlanta, 30-26.
Three touchdown passes by Bears quarterback Nick Foles allowed Chicago to erase the deficit. He threw a 3-yard touchdown to tight end Jimmy Graham, a 37-yard touchdown pass to receiver Allen Robinson and a 28-yard touchdown pass to receiver Anthony Miller to take a 30-26 lead with 1:53 remaining in the ball game.
Atlanta entered the fourth quarter holding a 26-10 lead, and the Falcons had been the better team for the first three quarters on Sunday. That all changed in the fourth quarter, however, and it happened on both sides of the ball.
Following a missed field goal on their first possession of the fourth quarter, the Falcons' offense had three consecutive three-and-outs and could not take any substantial time off the clock while trying to protect their lead. By not sustaining drives, offensively, the Falcons relied on their defense to contain the Bears, but injuries and fatigue began to impact that unit.
After losing the lead for the first time on Sunday, Atlanta attempted to put together a comeback drive of its own. Matt Ryan connected on two early passes to receiver Brandon Powell, but a deep pass intended for Calvin Ridley went over the receiver's head and was intercepted by safety Tashaun Gipson, sealing the win for Chicago.
Atlanta started the game quickly on offense, with Matt Ryan hitting Calvin Ridley for a 63-yard completion on the team's very first offensive play. That catch moved the Falcons to the 1-yard line, and they capitalized on the deep shot just two plays later when tight end Hayden Hurst had a 1-yard touchdown reception. The Falcons finished the game with 371 yards on offense, including a season-high 144 rushing yards.
Ryan finished the game completing 19 of his 38 pass attempts for 238 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Calvin Ridley led Atlanta with five catches for 110 yards, and Todd Gurley finished the game with 80 rushing yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
A 29-yard field goal by Younghoe Koo helped Atlanta build on its early lead, putting the Falcons up 9-3 midway through the second quarter. After giving up two long drives in the first quarter, Atlanta's defense settled down in the second quarter, forcing consecutive three-and-outs and allowing just 2 yards on those drives.
One of those three-and-outs helped the Falcons build offensive momentum after Koo's field goal. Atlanta marched down the field with the help of two Bears penalties, and a 35-yard touchdown run by Brian Hill on a third-and-5 opened up the game and gave the Falcons a 16-3 lead.
The lone glaring mistake by the Falcons' defense in the second quarter was a 45-yard run by Mitch Trubisky after defenders lost sight of the quarterback while focused on receivers in coverage. Fueled by that big run, Chicago scored its first touchdown on the game with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Trubisky to tight end Jimmy Graham. That left the Bears trailing 16-10 heading into halftime.
After deferring to the second half at the opening coin toss, the Falcons' offense was up first in the third quarter. Atlanta marched 75 yards in seven plays behind a 16-yard run from Gurley and a 24-yard pass from Ryan to Ridley. On the next play after Ridley's long reception, Gurley scored the team's third touchdown on a 10-yard run.
With the offense building a 23-10 lead for Atlanta, the defense then took the field to defend it. The Falcons did that and then some. Cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson, who received extra playing time while filling in for A.J. Terrell after the rookie corner was placed on the team's reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday, perfectly predicted a Trubisky pass and stepped in front of the receiver to intercept it.
That turnover led to a 36-yard field goal by Younghoe Koo to give Atlanta a 26-10 lead early in the third quarter. Following the interception, Bears coach Matt Nagy turned to Nick Foles at quarterback for Chicago's next drive.
Foles put together a quality drive for Chicago, moving the Bears into striking distance of the end zone. He took a shot for the end zone, throwing the ball to receiver Allen Robinson, who faced single coverage by cornerback Darqueze Dennard. Robinson and Dennard both went up for the ball and struggled for possession as they fell to the turf. Ultimately, it was Dennard who wrestled the ball away.
The officials initially ruled the play a touchdown, triggering an automatic review. Upon reviewing the play, the ruling was overturned and Dennard was credited with his first interception of the season for Atlanta.
The Falcons allowed 437 yards on defense with 232 of those yards coming in the second half. Foles completed 16 of his 29 pass attempts for 188 yards and the three touchdowns to go along with one interception. Grady Jarrett and Charles Harris each registered a sack on Sunday, and rookie linebacker Mykal Walker led the Falcons with eight tackles.
Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears with top photos from inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Week 3.