Atlanta Falcons linebacker Brooks Reed sacked Mike Glennon on fourth-and-goal to seal a 23-17 win over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. It wasn't pretty, but the win washes away some of the bad taste from the epic Super Bowl collapse. Here is what you need to know:
1. The Falcons looked little like the high-flying, multifaceted, deep-strike offense we saw in 2016. In the first tilt with Steve Sarkisian calling plays, the Falcons offense settled for short passes, struggled to run the ball (2.65 yards per carry from Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman), and rarely got into a flow. Outside of a bust in the Bears secondary that led to an 88-yard touchdown from Matt Ryan to tight end Austin Hooper, the quarterback rarely stretched the field. The operation looked more like the pre-Kyle Shanahan days. Ryan made enough plays (21-of-30 passing for 321 yards, TD) to get the win. After not playing most of the preseason without a full complement of weapons together, we'll see if the trend continues as the offense gels.
2. Hello, Tarik Cohen! The Bears' shifty running back was a marvel to watch. On a field with Julio Jones, Freeman, and Coleman, it speaks volumes that Cohen was the most exciting player Sunday. The slippery rookie rarely went down on first contact and provided headaches to the Falcons second level. Cohen earned 66 yards on five rushes, including a breathtaking 46-yarder in which he looked corralled in the backfield before springing free. The jitterbug added eight receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown grab. Looking like a Darren Sproles facsimile, Cohen should eat into Jordan Howard's production this season.
3. The Bears predictably hid quarterback Mike Glennon early in the contest. At one point, the Bears went 19 plays without a completed pass. On their first touchdown drive, Chicago ran seven official plays, all runs (the only pass ended as a defensive holding). Glennon wasn't the disaster we saw in the preseason, but his lack of pocket mobility played a factor (four sacks), and he didn't stretch the field until late in the contest. Glennon looked the part of a competent backup. He made plays to keep the Bears in the game, didn't have back breaking turnovers, and got the Bears in the correct plays. Lacking playmakers on the outside, Glennon spread the ball around to eight pass catchers, finishing with 65 completion percentage, 213 yards, 5.3 yards per attempt and one touchdown.
Yes, the game ended on his sack, but Glennon also hit Josh Bellamy and Jordan Howard in the hands for possible touchdowns on preceding plays. Sunday's performance will give Glennon a longer leash to keep the starting gig ahead of rookie Mitchell Trubisky.
4. The Falcons got beat in the trenches for much of the game. The Bears front seven shut down the run and got after Ryan with regularity, surprising to see from a heretofore solid offensive line. Dan Quinn's defense repeatedly gave up the edges on runs, overran several plays, and had way too many missed tackles. The Falcons defense is young and fast, but has strides to go to reach its potential this season.
5. With a chance to blow another 10-point lead, Atlanta did just enough to get the win. (The meme community would have had a field day if the Falcons blew another big lead.) Quinn will surely use that as a talking point to move on from the Super Bowl LI collapse.
6. Kevin White is injured again. The Bears injury prone receiver exited Sunday's opener after suffering a broken collarbone, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports. White's 2017 campaign is over and will be placed on injured reserve. NFL Network's Stacey Dales adds White left the facility following the game with his shoulder wrapped, arm in a sling, while holding his wrist with this non-injured hand.