The ‘60s and ‘70s were very lean years for the Falcons, who missed the playoffs in each of their first 12 years of existence after inception in 1966, but the Bears were one of the very few teams the Birds had consistent success against in that time period. After defeats in the first two matchups ever, in 1966 and 1967, Atlanta won nine of the next 11 against Chicago between 1968-1983.
The vicious 1985 rendition of the Bears, thought by some as the greatest team of all time, exorcised some demons against an Atlanta squad that had become their bogey team, beating them 36-0 in a game where Falcons’ quarterbacks Dave Archer and Bob Holly combined to throw for 16 passing yards on just three completions vs. 16 attempts.
That was the beginning of a pendulum shift which saw the Bears win eight out of nine over the next 20 years, through 2005. Atlanta’s only success in that window came during the 1998 Super Bowl season.
The Matt Ryan era brought about a halt to that funk for the Birds, as his 2008 comeback was a signature moment in a Rookie of the Year campaign. The teams split their matchups 3-3 with Ryan under center.
Both teams were under .500 when they met in Week 11 last season — Atlanta at 4-6, Chicago at 3-7, with each looking to break a losing streak.
The Falcons scored a touchdown on their opening drive, which was immediately matched by the Bears, who went on to score the next 17 points in the game to claim all first half momentum. Then, Cordarrelle Patterson ran the ensuing kickoff back 104 yards following Chicago’s second touchdown (making up for the fumble he committed which put them in position to secure that score), giving Atlanta the jolt it needed.
There wasn’t much separating these teams all afternoon, as they went into the half tied and traded second half touchdowns before the Falcons got close enough to the end zone to see Younghoe Koo nail a go-ahead 53-yard field goal with 1:52 remaining in the game.
With one more chance left to tie or take the lead, Justin Fields threw an interception to Jaylinn Hawkins, one which sealed the game.
The Falcons got the win, but they would go on to lose their next four in a row en route to another 7-10 season, and they lost Kyle Pitts to a season ending torn MCL in this game. The Bears never won again in 2022, finishing the year at 3-14 and on a 10-game losing streak.