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Associated Press, Published October 19 2009

NFL: Falcons hold on against Bears

ATLANTA – Chicago made another huge mistake in the red zone, and the Atlanta Falcons held on for another wild victory over the Bears.

Michael Turner scored the go-ahead touchdown on an otherwise forgettable night, powering over from 5 yards with 3:06 remaining, and the defense held at the end to preserve a 21-14 victory Sunday night.

Matt Ryan threw two touchdown passes for the Falcons (4-1), who matched the best five-game start in franchise history.

The Bears (3-2) will surely be moaning about all the mistakes down close that helped end their three-game winning streak: a fumble at the 1, an interception at the 9 and a crucial penalty when they had fourth-and-1 at the Atlanta 5 with less than a minute to go.

The teams played a thriller for the second year in a row. Last season, the Bears thought they had pulled out an improbable victory on a touchdown pass with 11 seconds remaining, only to blow it by going with a pooch kick and giving up one long completion that set up Jason Elam for a game-winning field goal on the final play.

This time, the team that was behind couldn’t pull off the comeback.

Cutler drove the Bears down the field, and a disputed pass interference penalty on Curtis Lofton gave the Bears a first down at the Atlanta 14.

Two penalties left Chicago with third-and-25 before Cutler went over the middle to Earl Bennett, who came down with the ball amid three defenders for a 24-yard reception.

That left the Bears needing 3 feet on fourth down, and they called time to set up a play. But left tackle Orlando Pace inexplicably took off ahead of the snap, leaving Chicago with a much more daunting fourth-and-6.

Cutler’s final pass, going for Desmond Clark over the middle, bounced off the receiver’s arm with Erik Coleman defending to preserve the victory with 29 seconds left.

Greg Olsen appeared to be open in the back of the end zone, but Cutler didn’t see him.

Chicago 0 7 0 7 – 14

Atlanta 0 14 0 7 – 21

Second Quarter

Chi – Knox 23 pass from Cutler (Gould kick), 14:54.

Atl – White 40 pass from Ryan (Elam kick), 9:03.

Atl – Gonzalez 10 pass from Ryan (Elam kick), :04.

Fourth Quarter

Chi – Olsen 2 pass from Cutler (Gould kick), 6:14.

Atl – Turner 5 run (Elam kick), 3:06.

A – 68,082.

Chi Atl

First downs 21 16

Total Net Yards 373 253

Rushes-yards 23-83 23-68

Passing 290 185

Punt Returns 3-54 1-20

Kickoff Returns 4-69 3-117

Interceptions Ret. 2-(-15) 2-20

Comp-Att-Int 27-43-2 19-33-2

Sacked-Yards Lost 2-10 0-0

Punts 4-37.8 5-47.4

Fumbles-Lost 3-1 1-0

Penalties-Yards 9-65 6-70

Time of Possession 33:54 26:06


RUSHING: Chicago, Cutler 3-34, Forte 15-23, Wolfe 3-15, Hester 2-11. Atlanta, Turner 13-30, Norwood 4-21, Snelling 3-9, Ryan 3-8.

PASSING: Chicago, Cutler 27-43-2-300. Atlanta, Ryan 19-33-2-185.

RECEIVING: Chicago, Hester 6-83, Olsen 5-57, Forte 5-37, Bennett 4-57, Knox 3-34, Clark 3-32, McKie 1-0. Atlanta, White 4-56, Gonzalez 4-52, Snelling 2-22, Turner 2-16, Jenkins 2-15, Norwood 2-12, Peelle 2-8, Finneran 1-4.