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Jay Feely's field-goal attempt sailed wide left. Well, of course it did.
The Falcons ruined one scoring opportunity after another in Sunday's 14-13 loss to the Bears. Why should the last try to win be any different?
Missed field goals, fumbles, dropped passes. The Falcons were still muttering to themselves 30 minutes after the game.
"One play away from a win, just like last week against the Packers," running back Warrick Dunn said. "We needed one play and didn't make it."
Start with the last play the Falcons didn't make, Feely's 45-yarder with 1 minute 1 second to play. He kicked a 52-yarder to get the Falcons into overtime against Green Bay, a game Atlanta lost 37-34.
"I probably tried to hit it too hard and just pulled it a little bit," Feely said. "It felt good off my foot and it just drifted left."
Then there were the two plays just before Feely's miss when Atlanta had a second-and-1 at the Bears' 28 with 1:32 to play. With a first down, the Falcons could have gotten Feely even closer for a game-winning field goal.
But on second down, Dunn was stopped for no gain.
"At that time I wasn't, for the first time in quite a while, thinking down and distance," Dunn said. "I wasn't running for a yard. I was actually figuring if we don't get it, let's get the ball in the middle of the field. It cost us a down."
On third down, Michael Vick tried a quarterback sneak only to see Brian Urlacher's helmet stuffed in the hole. Vick tried to go low but didn't get the yard for the first down.
"Urlacher was right there," Vick said. "I didn't want to jam my neck, so I went low. I got the first down, but the first thing the ref said was, 'It's going to be a tough spot.'"
So why didn't the Falcons get 255-pound tailback T.J. Duckett into the game to get the 1 yard?
"When you don't have timeouts and you're trying to get down into field-goal position or to score a touchdown, you don't have a lot of time to do a lot of substitution," Atlanta coach Dan Reeves said. "We had Warrick in there and [that] is a play we run very well. I thought he had it."
The other play the Falcons wanted back was the throw by Vick to wide receiver Willie Jackson with 4:02 left. At first it was ruled a catch, which would have meant a 42-yard gain from the Atlanta 36 to the Bears' 22. But the catch was overruled by the replay official.
Asked if he caught the ball, which was tipped by safety Mike Brown, Jackson just shrugged and said: "There's not much you can say or do about it. That would have made a big difference. We would have at least gotten a field goal out of it."
Then there was a sure touchdown that slipped away in the fourth quarter when Jim Miller threw a pass to the right side on second down from his 15. Marcus Robinson fell down and the ball went into the hands of cornerback Juran Bolden, who only had to walk into the end zone with 7:20 to play.
But Bolden dropped the ball.
"If I would have had 'Ray' hands, I would have caught it," said Bolden, who was playing for Pro Bowl cornerback Ray Buchanan, suspended for four games for violating the league's steroid policy.
But it wasn't just the missed play here and there that had Reeves shaking his head. It was the fumbles and the scoring chances Atlanta didn't convert. The Falcons led time of possession in the first half 18:30 to 11:30 but led just 10-7 on the scoreboard.
"We had the upper hand, certainly, as far as possession," Reeves said. "That's where it's bad. You've got to come up with points in those situations."
Atlanta also fumbled the ball back to the Bears on its first two possessions of the second half, then fumbled away a punt that would have begun their third possession. That fumble led to a David Terrell TD catch that put the Bears ahead 14-10.
"Any loss hurts, but particularly those you have a chance to win," Reeves said. "Three turnovers to start the second half were big."