Falcons missing 6 starters vs Bears, including Julio Jones

NFL

ATLANTA (AP)The winless Atlanta Falcons were missing six starters for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears, including star receiver Julio Jones.

Hobbled by a hamstring injury, Jones was ruled out by the Falcons (0-2) shortly before kickoff after sitting out practice all week. His spot in the lineup was taken by Christian Blake.

It is only the second game in four seasons that Jones has missed because of injury. He has 11 catches for 181 yards in the first two games, but was noticeably hobbled by the ailing hamstring in last week’s 40-39 loss at Dallas, even dropping a sure touchdown pass in the end zone on a trick play.

The Falcons also were without offensive tackle Kaleb McGary (knee), defensive end Takk McKinley (groin), safety Ricardo Allen (elbow), linebacker Foye Oluokun (hamstring) and rookie cornerback A.J. Terrell, their top draft pick. The team announced Saturday that Terrell has been placed on the COVID-19 reserve list.

Kendall Sheffield, another cornerback who usually gets extensive playing time, missed his second straight game with a foot injury.

Matt Gono started for McGary at right tackle, Allen Bailey got the nod at defensive end in place of McKinley, Darqueze Dennard took Allen’s place at safety, Mykal Walker replaced Oluokun in the linebacking group, and Blidi Wreh-Wilson started at cornerback for Terrell.

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