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"It was a big win, but that's done," Ryan said this week. "That was last year. This is a different team coming in here this year, and we're a different team at this point this year."
True. Jay Cutler, not Kyle Orton, plays quarterback for the Bears, who lost linebacker Brian Urlacher for the year in Week 1.
And Atlanta added 10-time Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez in a trade. Running back Michael Turner, the NFL's second-leading rusher last year, is averaging 3.7 yards per carry and tied for 17th among players with at least 40 rushing attempts.
Ryan might be right about Sunday night's game between Atlanta (3-1) and the Bears (3-1), but last year's 22-20 loss proved to be a turning point for the Bears.
Coming off a three-point upset victory at Green Bay the week before, the Falcons beat Chicago in dramatic fashion and kept alive a streak that's reached 21 games without consecutive losses under coach Mike Smith.
"Last year?" Ryan said. "Yeah, you have to believe that in those situations that you're going to make the play. I felt like it was a good call, and we got it done."
Can the Bears stop them this year. You tell us.