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Chicago 31, Atlanta 3

Oct. 7, 2001 at 4:20 PM   |   Comments

ATLANTA, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Wide receiver Marty Booker threw a 34-yard touchdown pass on an end-around play and caught a 63-yard scoring toss Sunday to pace the Chicago Bears to a 24-3 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

In addition to Booker's touchdown catch, the Bears (2-1) had two other long fourth-quarter scoring strikes.

Linebacker Brian Urlacher returned a Michael Vick fumble 90 yards and Anthony Thomas burst 32 yards up the middle after Chicago grabbed a short onsides Atlanta kickoff.

That kickoff came after the Falcons finally scored wih 4:02 left in the contest on a 44-yard field goal by Jay Feely. The field goal enabled Atlanta (2-2) to avoid its first shutout in 13 years.

The two teams battled to a scoreless tie for the first 28 minutes, but Chicago finally broke out when Booker took a handoff from Jim Miller and found Marcus Robinson wide open to give the Bears a 7-0 lead 1:54 before halftime.

There were three interceptions in the closing moments of the first half with the Bears capitalizing on their second in that span with a 42-yard field goal by Paul Edinger to take a 10-0 lead.

After a scoreless third quarter, highlighted by the Falcons losing quarterback Chris Chandler to a mild concussion, the Bears erupted with their three long fourth-quarter touchdowns. Booker's catch made it 17-0 and Urlacher's return made it 24-0 with 8:56 left to play

The Falcons, paced by the passing and running of rookie quarterback Vick, had a first down at the Chicago seven, but three straight sacks pushed them back to the 27 before the field goal.

Atlanta's onside kickoff went barely 10 yards and was returned to the 32, from where Thomas found a big hole up the middle to make it 31-3 with 3:58 left.

© 2001 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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