Too close for comfort

It took an instant replay overturn and a missed field goal in closing moments for the Bears to secure their second victory of the year winning by the slimmest of margins 14-13.

With just over a minute to go the Falcons brought on placekicker Jay Feely, who missed a 50 yarder earlier in the game, to attempt a 45-yard field goal but he hooked it wide left preserving the victory.

The Bears played undisciplined throughout the game and were lucky to hold on. Several personal foul penalties presented the Falcons with opportunities, but the young team couldn't finish.

Chicago came out sluggish in the first half of the game not getting a first down until about five minutes left in the second quarter.

The first scoring opportunity of the contest came on the Falcons second possession. Starting at their 16-yard line the team moved the ball slowly down field on a 14-play drive that ended on Jay Feely came up short on a 50-yard attempt.

On the following drive Fred Weary picked off Jim Miller around midfield and the cornerback returned the ball to the Bears 38. Miller was trying to go to Anthony Thomas on 3rd and 8, but a poor throw was intercepted by Weary.

The Falcons failed to capitalize on good position on the previous drive converted the Bears turnover into seven points. On third and ten from the Bears 11 Vick stood in the pocket and dumped the ball to Warrick Dunn. The running back ran into the endzone for an 11-yard touchdown. Both Todd McMillon and Jerry Azumah missed tackles allowing Dunn to score. Feely's PAT put the Falcons up 7-0 with 11:33 left in the half.

On the drive Ted Washington went down with a sprained left ankle. The defensive tackle was rolled up on from behind causing an awkward fall. Washington was able to limp off under his own power, but didn't return.

Chicago's offense was atrocious on their first four possessions. The unit produced no first downs and totaled just 13 yards. On their fifth drive Chicago moved the ball as Miller found John Davis cutting across the field and the tight end sprinted down the sideline for a 37-yard gain bringing the ball to the Falcons 24-yard line. On the following play Miller went to Anthony Thomas on a dump off pass and with a broken tackle the "A-Train" got inside the Falcons ten setting up first and goal with a 19-yard catch. Three plays later Thomas capped the drive with a three-yard touchdown run with just 1:09 left in the half.

It looked like the Bears had held off the Falcons surge and were going to be able to go to the lockerroom tied at seven. However, Vick put together a six-play drive, which allowed Feely to hit a 36-yard field goal to end the half. The key play of the drive was a 14-yard completion to Shawn Jefferson but Roosevelt Colvin was flagged for roughing the passer giving Atlanta 15 additional yards. The play moved the ball to the Chicago 28 setting up the field goal.

The Bears defense stepped up in the second half allowing just three points in the final thirty minutes for the second straight week.

On the Falcons opening drive of the third quarter Mike Brown stripped Warrick Dunn and then recovered the ball. The safety returned the ball nine yards giving Chicago the ball at the Atlanta 36.

The Bears offense couldn't materialize the turnover into points. Paul Edinger attempted a 50-yard field goal and had the distance, but hit the right upright falling no good.

The miss gave the Falcons excellent field position on their 40. On the first play from scrimmage Vick connected with Finneran for a 21-yard catch moving the ball into Chicago territory. Atlanta went into the bag of tricks on the next play trying a halfback pass, which fell incomplete. However, DE Keith McKenzie was called for roughing Dunn on the pass attempt giving the Falcons 15-yards and a first down at the Bears 24. On the next play Vick scrambled past the line of scrimmage, but was stripped by Alfonso Boone, who was in for the injured Washington, Brian Urlacher recovered the ball.

The offense couldn't move the ball and punted for the fourth time in the game. Returned Kahlil Hill, who was just activated from the practice squad for this game, fumbled on the return and Rabih Abdullah recovered giving Chicago their third turnover in less than five minutes.

This time the Bears offense put points on the board. Miller found David Terrell in the back of the endzone for a 14-yard score giving Chicago their first lead of the day at 14-10 lead early in the third quarter.

Travis Jervey returned the ensuing kickoff 67 yards by giving the Falcons the ball deep in Bears territory at the 23. Atlanta had first and goal at the nine, but didn't move any closer to the endzone settling for another Feely chip shot this time from 26 yards out. The three points cut the lead to 14-13.

Chicago looked to extend their lead. A ten-yard completion to Booker on third down moved the chains. Then an 18-yard lob to Booker moved the Bears into Falcons territory. On the following play Miller handed off to Dez White on an end-around for 21 more yard. The drive ended when former Bear Chris Draft forced Thomas' first career fumble.

Although, Chicago didn't get the majority of the calls from the referees in the Georgia Dome the most important play went in the Bears favor.

With less than five minutes left in the game Atlanta was in 2nd and 20 following a Colvin sack. Vick scrambled around and throw the ball forty yards down the field. Mike Brown just got his fingers on the ball as he leapt in the air, but the ball appeared to fall into the hands of receiver Willie Jackson, who was behind Brown.

Bears head coach Dick Jauron decided to challenge the 42-yard gain. After looking at various angles the call was overturned putting the Falcons in 3rd and 20. Brian Urlacher sacked Vick on the following play forcing a punt.

All the Bears offense needed to do is run out the remaining 3:29 left in the game, but failed to do so. After a three and out Atlanta took the ball back with 2:12 left.

Vick found receiver Brian Finneran for 18 yards taking the game to the two-minute warning. Coming out of the break Vick scrambled for 17 yards moving the Falcons into Bears territory. Vick then went to TE Alge Crumpler for nine yards moving Atlanta within Feely's field goal range.

With 2nd and one the Falcons tried to run the clock down to kick a field goal with little time left on the clock. However, Warrick Dunn and Vick were stuffed on consecutive plays bringing Feely in to attempt a 45-yarder to take the lead.

The kick went left and the Falcons were out of timeouts as the Bears took possession with 56 seconds left.

Bear Report Top Stories