The Bears won the first two matchups in Atlanta’s first two years of existence, but they were a team the Birds generally owned throughout the ‘70s and into the early ‘80s, even though Atlanta was not winning many games overall during that time period. The Falcons went 9-2 against Chicago from 1968-1983.
In their following matchup, the Bears in 1985 — thought by some to be the greatest football team of all time — absolutely throttled Atlanta, 36-0, and firmly shifted the pendulum in the other direction. That was the start of eight wins in nine matchups over the course of the next 20 years, with the Birds’ only triumph coming in their own magical 1998 season.
Atlanta split even with Chicago, 3-3, during the Matt Ryan era with the first of those games being the most memorable back in 2008. That was Ryan’s rookie season, where he made an impossible comeback by making one of the gutsiest passes of his young career to Michael Jenkins with one second left to set up a game winning Jason Elam field goal.
Chicago had a memorable 30-12 victory on opening day of the 2011 season. Atlanta returned the favor during Week 1 in 2017, when a Brooks Reed fourth and goal sack helped preserve a 23-17 victory.
The Falcons were emotionally at rock bottom going into Week 3 of the 2020 season, returning home with an 0-2 record following the onside kick fiasco in Dallas, which saw them put the finishing touches on a blown 39-24 fourth quarter lead to once again become the laughing stock of the league.
The Bears, meanwhile, were feeling good with a 2-0 record in their pursuit to make it back to the playoffs, after the double doink ended their 12-4 season in the Divisional Round before they broke even at 8-8 in year two of Matt Nagy in 2019.
The Falcons marched downfield and scored a touchdown in their first three plays following a Cairo Santos missed field goal. That set the tone early on and for the longest time it really looked like the Birds were going to bounce back from that heartbreaker in Dallas. They got out to a 16-3 lead before the Bears found the end zone shortly before the half. That lead was even extended to 26-10 with the help of two second half interceptions — one against the soon to be benched Mitchell Trubisky and one against Nick Foles.
Unfortunately, the Falcons did what did best at that time period, and they Falconed it all up. They allowed three consecutive touchdown scoring drives in the the second half of the fourth quarter, while their offense did nothing. Twenty one consecutive points for the Bears gave them a 30-26, lead which became the final score after Matt Ryan threw an interception on his final drive. In back-to-back weeks, the Falcons allowed their opponent to register the last three scores of the game late in the fourth, and they had another blown lead to show for it.
Atlanta went on to start that season 0-5, before finishing it 4-12. The Bears started 5-1 before suffering a six-game losing streak, but they bounced back to make the playoffs as an 8-8 team before bowing out in the Wildcard round.