Hello all and welcome to the first ever Reliving 2011. In this series, I will be taking you back through last season, a year after it all went down. I will break it down by quarters, key plays, and after thoughts. In Week 1, the Falcons took on the Chicago Bears. The Falcons were coming off an 0-4 preseason, as with a disappointing loss to the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs. The Bears were also coming off a disappointing loss to the Packers, but Jay Cutler also took a lot of heat for bailing on his team in the NFC Championship game. Also, they were fresh off a lockout which eliminated OTA’s and off season contact with their fellow teammates and coaches.
The Bears received the ball to start the game, and capitalized on the opportunity, jumping out to a 3-0 lead. The drive lasted 10 plays and 5:02. The Falcons fired right back, as they marched down the field on a 10 play drive, and tying up the game at 3. After a drive for each team fails, the Bears get the ball back, and on a big play, Matt Forte catches a 56 yard touchdown pass. The score was 10-3 at the end of the first quarter, the Bears had the lead.
Key points for Quarter #1: Some of the key things to know that were not mentioned in the quarter #1 recap is the Falcons had 2 turnovers. One was an interception by Brian Urlacher, and the other a fumble by Michael Turner. Also, there was evidence of poor offensive line play, which was evident throughout the game.
The Bears started off with the ball, but fail to accomplish anything as John Abraham gets a sack to force a 3 and out. The Falcon’s fate was much the same, as a sack for a 8 yard loss forced a 3 and out. The Bears capitalized with a 7 play drive, and scored 3 points, making it 13-3. The Falcon’s fail to answer, but the Bear’s get another 3 points heading into the half, making it 16-3.
Key Points for Quarter #2: It is evident the Bears were outplaying the Falcons. To be more specific, the Bear’s O-Line and Defense were outplaying the Falcon’s O-Line and defense. The Falcons had also been throwing the ball a lot more than usual, as I am sure you all know. It is also good to know that the Falcon’s had stopped the Bears from getting 7 points 3 times, which is bad and good. The rust was showing in game #1 for the Falcons.
One of the Falcon’s best drives of the day kicks off the third quarter. They marched down the field quite nicely, with an 11 play drive. However, they couldn’t get the ball into the end zone, and had to settle for three points, making the score 16-6. But the Bears answered the drive by a great drive of their own. They scored 7 on a 7 play drive, killing all the momentum the Falcon’s previous drive had. The score was now 23-6, the game becoming more and more out of reach. The next outing for the Falcons was as bad a drive as ever, as a fumble recovery for a TD by Brian Urlacher made the game 30-6.
Key Points for Quarter #3: The Falcon’s gave us false hope for a comeback after a solid first drive, only to be answered by the Bears. We couldn’t seem to get momentum at any time in the game, and the third quarter was a great example of that. The Bears truly outplayed the Falcons in the third quarter, matching them punch for punch.
The Falcons had little chance for a comeback victory, and punting the ball the first play of the fourth evidently didn’t help the cause. However, the defense picked up some slack with a pick 6 by Kory Biermann. Those were the only points in the entire quarter. The final score Chicago Bears: 30, the Atlanta Falcons: 12.
Key Points for Quarter #4: Another ugly quarter, the only highlight being Biermann’s touchdown.
After Thoughts: It was obvious the Falcon’s had plenty of rust to start the 2011 season with. The Falcon’s Offensive Line couldn’t keep the Bear’s rush in its place. Matt Ryan was sacked 5 times for a total loss of 43 yards. Although, the Falcon’s average yards per rush was an astonishing 7.9 yards. With that being said, they only rushed the ball 14 times. The Bear’s overall outplayed the Falcon’s and deserved the win.
Key Stat: The key stat for me was the fumbles. The Bears fumbled the ball 3 times in the game, the Falcons twice. The only difference is the Falcon’s lost the ball both times, while the Bears recovered their own fumbles all 3 times. If the Falcon’s could have hopped on the ball twice, even once, the momentum could have easily shifted towards the Falcons, making this an entirely new game.
Player of the Game (Falcons): The Player of the game was easily Matt Ryan. His stats really stood out, completing 31 passes for 319 yards. He did throw an interception, however, but it showed that Ryan was ready for a great season.
Player of the Game (Bears): The obvious player of the game is Brian Urlacher. He not only intercepted Ryan, he picked up a fumble for a touchdown. He really was a big game changer is this one.
What this meant: This game ended up not meaning much for the Falcon’s. They ended up making the playoffs. It was good for them, as it showed they had plenty of work to do. It showed us they had plenty of rust to shake off, and the lockout truly did effect the team.
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