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Week 1 Game Recap: Atlanta Falcons 23, Chicago Bears 17


What you need to know

Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan had a few big plays to Austin Hooper but otherwise not creating big plays and points for the Falcons. Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman split the running back touches almost equally, with Freeman getting the goal line score. Hooper was running free twice as the secondary focused on Jones and the receivers.

Chicago Bears

The Mike Glennon era in Chicago started off as we thought it would. The Bears squandered multiple opportunities to beat the Falcons, instead it ended 23-17 after a sack on fourth down in the red zone. Many first-time Bears took the field Sunday, some rookies and some not. Easily the most effective Bear was Tarik Cohen and his five carries for 66 yards and eight catches for 47 yards and a touchdown. Without Cohen, the loss would have been much greater and much more painful to watch.

Atlanta Falcons

QB Matt Ryan, 59 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 30 - 321 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 11 - 0
Ryan hit his first five passes on the drive to four different receivers to get inside the 29 of Chicago to set up a field goal to complete an 11-play 62-yard opening drive. He overthrew Sanu on third down in the second drive to set up a punt. The Bears sacked Ryan on first down in the middle of the second quarter. Followed up with a crossing route to Jones for 25 to get inside the red zone. Slid inside the 5 on 2nd and 13 against edge pressure to avoid the sack and set up the open lane in the late second quarter for 13 yards. Freeman then bounced it outside for the TD. It was their second 11-play scoring drive. Pressured twice in a row on first drive of the third quarter for Falcons and sacked on second play on third down by Akeem Hicks up the middle. Split a double team due to outside pressure by nickel backer to open the double team. Justin Hardy Juggled a 3rand 8 deep out that he tight roped the sideline and incomplete but Matt Ryan roughed with late hit on the ground in the third quarter with 5:10 left. Ryan hit Austin Hooper for an 88-yard score and then later a 40-yard catch and run to set up a field goal to put the Falcons up six with only a few minutes left.

RB Devonta Freeman, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 37 - 1, Rec: 2 - 2 - 0 (2 targets)
He gained six on the first offensive touch of the game on a toss right to a wide open perimeter. Great bounce out on a short draw from shotgun on the third down for the first down. Picked up a good 3rd and 1 with a nice cut back outside penetration up the middle for a first down. Bounce left for the five-yard score with 4:30 in the half. Good read and bounce. Strung out ot the left early in the third quarter. Another good stop-start cut inside for a five-yard gain. Freeman wasn't as involved in the passing game as Coleman and this was close to an even split in touches.

RB Tevin Coleman, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 16 - 0, Rec: 4 - 42 - 0 (6 targets)
Coleman went head over heels on a short run up the middle and slipped on a short pass in the let flat on a second and seven after that. He was stuffed on 3rd and 1 on a run inside against good penetration at the 29 of Chicago to set up a Matt Ryan 48-yard FG. Coleman was then targeted on a throw-out to the left flat but the pass was thrown inaccurately due to penetration in the backfield and Coleman had to pounce on the throw thrown behind him. He caught a flat pass on 1st down for 8 yards. Coleman cut back and was stuffed for third down on 2nd and short because head and pads come down too early. Forced a 3rd and 1. Later a run to left end foiled by holding call to Jake Matthews that would have gone for about 5-6 yards. Followed up with a pull through the wrap at the LOS for seven yards to set up 2nd and 13 manageable. Well covered by Leonard Floyd in the right flat and broken up in the third quarter. Broke a Kyle Fuller tackle on a crossing route circling form the backfield to get inside the 25 for his fourth catch. A bigger gain was lost when he slipped on a cut downhill on 2nd down and it seemed to happen for Freeman on the same side of the field although twice for Coleman.

WR Mohamed Sanu, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 47 - 0 (9 targets)
Sanu gained three yards on 2nd and 4 on a short pass and officials screwed up giving him a first down, coming back to the ball. He caught a second short pass over the middle for seven yards. Later a good cross with outside-in stem and took the hit by the LB head-on for a third down conversion with 6:30 in the third quarter. Sanu went up the seam in the middle inside the 10 for 15 yards. The short passes continued with a diving seven yard catch thrown to back shoulder in the early fourth quarter. Overthrown on quick slant on 3rd and 3.

WR Julio Jones, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 66 - 0 (5 targets)
Jones caught a slant on a backside slant and spun inside the safety for the first down and additional yards, for 19 off the PA pass. He gained 18 yards on corner route opened by motion of Austin Hooper to same side on out. crossing route to Jones for 25 to get inside the red zone. Then Jones was not targeted the entire third quarter. Jones was thwarted later by a good break on the ball on a spot out cut off by Cooper. Short hook well covered under the zone on 3rd and 10 for a short gain and set up a 37-yard FG.

WR Taylor Gabriel, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 36 - 0 (4 targets)
Gabriel gained about 15 yards on a route inside the right flat. Jones the high corner route with Hooper running the out underneath to open the field. He caught an easy slant for 18 yards on the back shoulder in second quarter to get across mid field. Gabriel made the first man miss on 2nd and 10 but wrapped at the 10 with 3:00 in the third quarter trying to bounce it to the right sideline on a short pass. Targeted on the next play, a 3rd and goal out cut with Julio the decoy but overthrown by Ryan.

WR Justin Hardy, 15 offensive snaps
Hardy juggled a 3rd and 8 deep out that he tight roped the sideline and incomplete but Matt Ryan was roughed with late hit on the ground in the third quarter with 5:10 left.

WR Andre Roberts, 2 offensive snaps
He returned the opening kick 60 yards, weaving through the middle of the defense from the left flat to the right sideline, but an illegal block in the back by Kemal Ishmael early in the run nullified the play.

TE Austin Hooper, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 128 - 1 (2 targets)
Hooper had the biggest gain in any game with 88 yards on Ryan scramble in pocket to stay alive and hit him at the 50 and then a stiff arm and a block by Gabriel to get up the right sideline. Then a delayed release in the mid fourth to catch the ball, stiff arm a defender and run through a second wrap for 40 yards. Hooper and a third catch and dive on third and short catch short of the marker, but a holding call by Marcus Cooper on Taylor Gabriel gave the Falcons a first down.


Chicago Bears

QB Mike Glennon, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 40 - 213 - 1 TD / 0 INT
It wasn’t the prettiest of efforts, but Bears fans will take it. Glennon completed 26 of 40 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown and zero turnovers in Sunday’s 23-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. The most important factor of Glennon’s performance is the zero turnovers. Not turning over the ball is what will keep him on the field and Mitchell Trubisky on the bench.

It was evident Sunday that Glennon has no one who can stretch the field. Kevin White was drafted to be that guy for the Bears, but he’s now out for the season with a shoulder injury. His stable of talent is unlikely to get better this season, either.

Glennon has very little value from a fantasy perspective.

RB Jordan Howard, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 52 - 1, Rec: 3 - 14 - 0 (5 targets)
Jordan Howard likely wants to forget the events of Sunday. On the wrong end of the 23-17 loss, Howard failed to convert on multiple opportunities that would have pushed the game in the Bears’ favor. Howard finished the game with 53 yards on 13 carries and 14 yards on three catches.

Howard dropped two passes, one of which would have tied the game under the two minute mark. Glennon found Howard mostly open near the far left pylon. All Howard needed to do was catch the ball and fall backwards into the end zone.

Pass catching seemingly has been Howard’s bugaboo since he entered the league one season ago. Howard dropped seven passes on 50 targets as a rookie, and he needed to improve upon that mark now or else Tarik Cohen will take a stronghold on the passing downs.

Howard’s value will hold for now, but he clearly is going to be pushed by the youngster Cohen.

RB Tarik Cohen, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 66 - 0, Rec: 8 - 47 - 1 (12 targets)
Welcome to the NFL, Mr. Cohen. Wow. Just wow. OK, sure, he didn’t run for 200 yards or score something ridiculous like four touchdowns, but he most certainly was a whirling dervish every time he touched the ball. Cohen carried the ball five times for 66 yards and caught eight passes on 12 targets for 47 yards and a touchdown.

Cohen’s best play came on a run left that quickly broke down and turned into a run right. Cohen’s quick decision to turn it back right was the only decision to make, one that resulted in the rookie beating every Falcon defender to the edge. Cohen ended up with a 46 yard gain on the plan.

Cohen was everywhere in Sunday’s 23-17 loss to the Falcons. He saw crucial snaps late in the game as the game was getting tighter, a clear sign that he’s earned the trust of this coaching staff. Given the lack of offensive talent elsewhere on the roster, there’s no doubt that Cohen will be leaned upon for output, heavy output, for that matter.

If Cohen still is available in your league, especially a PPR league, it would make sense to throw a hefty amount of change in order to secure him this season.

WR Kendall Wright, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 34 - 0 (4 targets)
“Not good” likely is the best way of describing Kendall Wright’s first game with the Chicago Bears. Wright only received four targets on the day, catching three passes for 34 yards.

With Cameron Meredith out of the season and Kevin White in the locker room during the first half, Wright did very little to take advantage of the newfound opportunity. While Wright is a slot receiver at heart, the Bears are relying on him for much more.

The Bears have exactly zero receivers that can stretch the field, and opposing defenses are very much aware. Until the personnel changes, there won’t be much room for Wright to operate in the middle of the field.

Wright is a great PPR target for future weeks.

WR Kevin White, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 6 - 0 (4 targets)
Broken scapula, out for the season again.