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Pregame Warmup

Bears set to battle Falcons in Atlanta


ATLANTA – Playing their fourth road game in five weeks, the Bears will look to snap a two-game losing streak Sunday when they battle the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome.

In the second half of back-to-back losses to the Packers and Panthers, the Bears (2-3) have been outscored 34-3 and committed five turnovers on 11 possessions. The Falcons (2-3) also have dropped their last two games, both on the road against the Vikings and Giants.

Jay Cutler entered Week 6 tied for second in the NFL with 12 TD passes, tied for third with 130 completions and 13th with a 94.9 passer rating. In three career games against the Falcons, he has completed 68 of 102 passes for 828 yards with five TDs, three interceptions and a 95.5 rating.

Kyle Long needs 15 yards rushing to become the 58th player in NFL history to reach 7,000. He entered Week 6 ranked eighth in the league with 319 yards on 82 carries.

After Brandon Marshall was limited to three catches for 44 yards in last Sunday's loss to the Panthers, coach Marc Trestman vowed to get the Pro Bowl receiver more involved in the offense.

Marshall has fully recovered from an ankle injury he sustained in the season opener that bothered him for several weeks. Since catching three touchdown passes in a 28-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers Sept. 14, Marshall has just six receptions for 69 yards and 1 TD in three games.

"When he touches the ball good things happen and over the last couple of weeks we haven't been able to get that done," Trestman said. "It's certainly something that we have to continue to work on to get him back involved where he can get more touches that will result in bigger plays."

With center Roberto Garza expected to play for the first time since injuring his ankle in the season opener, the Bears will start their fourth different offensive line combination in six games. Michael Ola will open his second straight contest at left tackle in place of the injured Jermon Bushrod.

Injuries have decimated the Bears at linebacker. Lance Briggs (ribs) and Shea McClellin (hand) both have been ruled out of the game, while Jonathan Bostic (back) is questionable and D.J. Williams (neck) was downgraded to questionable on Saturday.

That leaves second-year pro Khaseem Greene, rookie Christian Jones, recently-acquired Darryl Sharpton and Terrell Manning (who was elevated from the practice squad Saturday) as the Bears' only healthy linebackers.

The Bears defense will face an explosive Falcons offense that features quarterback Matt Ryan, running back Steven Jackson and receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White. Jones entered Week 6 leading the NFL with 552 receiving yards on 40 receptions.

The Bears rank 17th in the NFL in offense (22nd rushing and 14th passing) and 17th in defense (16th against the run and 17th versus the pass). The Falcons rank third in offense (17th rushing and second passing) and 29th in defense (28th versus the run and 24th versus the run).

The Bears will also have to contend with a motivated Devin Hester, who has been contributing on special teams and offense for the Falcons.

The former Bears star ranks fourth in the NFL in punt returns with a 14.4-yard average and one TD and eighth in kickoff returns with a 24.2-yard average. He also has caught 14 passes for 212 yards and one touchdown and scored on a 20-yard reverse.

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