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Falcons' focus is on stopping Bears' Forte

ATLANTA - Kyle Orton's gaudy passing day last week didn't distract the Atlanta Falcons.

They still say their top defensive challenge against Chicago on Sunday will be containing Matt Forte and the Bears' running game.

Orton had a career-high 334 yards passing with two touchdowns in the Bears' 34-7 win at Detroit. Forte was held to a season-low 36 yards rushing, but the rookie ran for a touchdown and had a touchdown catch.

'They're going to try to establish the running game,' said Falcons linebacker Keith Brooking. 'The rookie, it's amazing how many touches he gets. He's a physical runner. He's got some speed and he's good at catching the ball out of the backfield. It's a big test for us.'

Forte leads NFL rookies with 383 yards rushing. He also leads the Bears (3-2) with 22 catches and ranks fourth in the league with 555 total yards from scrimmage.

The Falcons (3-2) will counter with NFL rushing leader Michael Turner, the former backup to LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego.

A native of North Chicago who played for Northern Illinois, Turner signed with the Falcons as a free agent but acknowledged this week he dreamed of playing for the Bears.

Turner said he received no interest from the Bears, who instead drafted Forte in the second round from Tulane.

'They didn't make a call or anything or put an offer on the table,' Turner said. 'I was looking to go anywhere, but it would have been great to be in Chicago. I'm here in Atlanta now and I do what I can control.'

Turner said he expects to have more than three dozen friends and relatives from Chicago at the Georgia Dome.

'I had love for them,' said Turner of the Bears. 'It's going to be something to see them on the other side of the line.'

Turner's only previous game against the Bears came in last year's opener with San Diego, when he had 10 carries for 41 yards.

Turner, who has 543 yards rushing, has been a force in his first chance to be a full-time starter. He has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of the Falcons' three wins, including a franchise-record 220 yards rushing against Detroit in his Atlanta debut.

Another speed back, Jerious Norwood, and Turner have combined for 22 runs of 10 yards or longer.

Just like Orton, Falcons rookie quarterback Matt Ryan is coming off his career high with 194 yards passing in last week's 27-24 win at Green Bay. And just like the Falcons, the Chicago defense is expected to focus first on Atlanta's running game.

'He's a great running back,' said Bears cornerback Nathan Vasher of Turner. 'He gives us problems.'

The Bears had a fumble recovery and an interception in the win over the Lions and already have 10 takeaways this season. The Bears had four sacks in the game.

Defense has not been Atlanta's strength. The Falcons have given up 21 or more points in four of their five games, but have relied on big plays from Turner, Norwood and receiver Roddy White.

White had eight receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown - all in the first half - against Green Bay last week.

'They have two great running backs,' said Vasher, who is trying to return from a wrist injury. 'They have some versatile threats, wide receivers. They're a good football team.'