Bears take perfect record on the road, Falcons (0-2) focused forward
The Chicago Bears can improve to 3-0 for the first time since 2013 when they visit the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon.
Atlanta is trying to avoid its first 0-3 start since 2007 as scrutiny increases on head coach Dan Quinn’s job security. The Falcons fumbled away a victory at Dallas in Week 2 and are still unpacking the totality of the 40-39 loss to the Cowboys.
This is the first meeting between the franchises since 2017. The Falcons held on for a 23-17 victory in Chicago.
“Listen, it is not easy to win in this league, I don’t care who you’re playing, and we’re 2-0,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said. “So, (what we’ve) got to do now is we’ve got to go back and we’ve got to balance out, OK, where are we at as a team right now? Do we like our identity — offense, defense and special teams? How can we get better? And that’s what we’ll do.”
Now, the Bears will make their first trip to Mercedes-Benz Stadium with early season momentum.
Chicago is coming off a 17-13 win over the New York Giants in Week 2, which followed a 27-23 win over the Detroit Lions in Week 1. Neither performance was perfect, but the Bears have done enough to remain as one of 11 unbeaten teams.
Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will make his third start of the season and the 44th of his career. He beat out veteran challenger Nick Foles for the top job during the preseason, and since then he has posted a 92.7 passer rating while throwing for 432 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.
David Montgomery leads the Bears’ running backs with 146 rushing yards, while Allen Robinson is the top wideout on the team with 107 receiving yards.
On defense, Akiem Hicks leads Chicago with two sacks. Kyle Fuller and Deon Bush have one interception apiece in the secondary.
No team in the NFL has given up more points through the first two weeks than the Falcons. Atlanta is hoping to regroup on defense after surrendering 38 points to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1 and 40 points to the Cowboys in Week 2.
A special-teams meltdown last week only added to the pressure on Quinn, who is in his sixth season coaching Atlanta and sports a career record of 43-39.
“In terms of the process that we go through, I have a lot of confidence in the staff,” Quinn said. “I have a lot of confidence in the players that we will get the performances that we are looking for.”
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has posted a terrific 109.6 rating this season while throwing for 723 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. The 35-year-old has thrown 327 career touchdown passes, which ranks 11th all time.
Todd Gurley paces Atlanta on the ground with 117 rushing yards and a touchdown. Calvin Ridley has been Ryan’s top target with 239 receiving yards and four touchdowns, but the Bears know that Julio Jones (181 receiving yards) also has the ability to change the game on any given play. Jones did not practice on Wednesday with an aggravated hamstring muscle.
Bears rookie cornerback Jaylon Johnson, a second-round pick out of Utah, said he could not wait for the chance to compete against Atlanta’s talented wideouts.
“Just being able to match up against (Jones), arguably one of the best receivers of this generation,” Johnson said. “I mean, being able to line up against him, and then Calvin Ridley is an upcoming star as well. Just being able to match up against this high-quality talent is big for me in being able to get my name out there, to be able to make plays against those guys.”
–Field Level Media