Steve Bartkowski threw two touchdown passes, including a 21-yarder to Alfred Jenkins in the fourth quarter today that gave the Atlanta Falcons a 20-17 victory over the Bears.
The game marked the successful head coaching debut of former Washington Redskins assistant Dan Henning, who said, "We just had a feeling that if we could maintain field position . . . we'd be okay."
The Falcons started slowly, with only 91 yards total offense in the first half, which ended with Chicago leading, 10-6. Bartkowski was four of eight for 57 yards passing in the first half, but finished 14 of 23 for 201.
"I felt like we jelled in the second half and we showed a lot of character and ability to rebound," said Bartkowski.
Bartkowski's first scoring pass was a 23-yarder to William Andrews in the first quarter, but the conversion kick was blocked by Jim Osborne. The touchdown came immediately after the Bears had tried for a first down on fourth and one and failed.
"If you can't make two inches, you don't deserve to win," Bears Coach Mike Ditka said.
Bears receiver Willie Gault, who bypassed a chance to make the U.S. Olympic track team to play pro football, made one run for four yards.