This game was a grinder, with Atlanta’s defense pinning its ears back in key moments and special teams rebounding from a forgettable affair against Carolina. Now sitting at 5-6, the Falcons still have a real shot at the division title and are set to face the Washington Commanders on Sunday.
Here’s Hat tips & head-scratchers from the Falcons’ win over the Bears.
Pass rush gets home
The Falcons’ pass rush has been better this year, but the unit has a knack for getting around the quarterback but not quite to him. Sunday was different, with the Falcons logging four sacks against a mobile quarterback in Justin Fields.
Singling out a pair on the line: Grady Jarrett did what Grady Jarrett does, remaining a constant thorn in the side of the quarterback, and picking up a key sack after the Falcons fumbled the ball away.
Arnold Ebiketie has just been a tick late in the backfield for most of the season, but he lodged his second solo sack of the season in the third quarter.
CP sets a record
Running back Cordarrelle Patterson more than made up for his second-quarter fumble by returning the following Bears kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown. It was the ninth kickoff return for a touchdown in his career, making him the all-time leader in the NFL for that measure.
Patterson’s illustrious career on special teams is one that should see him Canton-bound — for now, we’re just glad this gamechanger is in Atlanta.
Jaylinn Hawkins seals it
Talk about a timely interception. These are the moments that the Falcons traditionally come out on the wrong end of, but by picking off quarterback Justin Fields in the final minute locked in the victory for Atlanta.
Avery Williams coughs it up
Rookie Avery Williams has been one of the league’s top kick returners this year, but his fumble in the first-quarter threatened to put the Falcons in an early hole. Initially ruled down by contact, it was clear from the replay that Williams had lost the handle — and the ruling was reversed.
Thankfully, the defense was able to make a stop on the ensuing Chicago drive.