The Chicago Bears opened their 2017 regular season against the Atlanta Falcons. They came close but ultimately fell. We go over some takeaways from that game.
The Chicago Bears’ quest to erase last season’s 3-13 debacle of a season began in earnest on Sunday. They opened their 2017 season at home against the Atlanta Falcons. While they showed some signs that give fans hope for the future, they also showed that they still have much more to do to become real contenders.
The Atlanta Falcons are the defending NFC champions. They had a record-breaking offense last season. Not many gave the Bears any chance to last a half against them, let alone win the game.
Well, the Bears made some impressions with their effort. They were able to stay with the Falcons, and that was mostly because they shut down the vaunted Atlanta offense for most of the game. The Bears defense shut down the running game (Atlanta had just 64 yards rushing and 2.8 yards per run). This is something positive as Chicago’s rush defense was horrible last season.
In the end, however, the Bears couldn’t make the play to win the game. It was there for them, but good teams take advantage of their chances. The Bears may be improved, but still not a good enough team to break through against a team like the Falcons. There’s still much to go for them to get there.
So let’s take a look at some takeaways from the Chicago Bears’ Week 1 game against the Atlanta Falcons:

3. Howard-Cohen Have A Good Debute 
In order for the Bears to have a chance at winning games, the running game needs to be working. General manager Ryan Pace drafted Tarik Cohen to complement starter Jordan Howard. Howard is a bruising type of runner while Cohen is a shifty runner. He has moves upon moves and bursts of speed to get away from defenders.
Cohen certainly made an impression in his first NFL game. He had five carries for 66 yards on the ground, including a 46-yard run that set up a first-half touchdown. Also, he added eight catches for 47 yards and a touchdown and 15 yards on punt returns. He caused headaches for Falcons defenders. At one point, a defender was so frustrated that when he finally got to Cohen he flipped him over. The problem for him was that Cohen was already out of bounds.

For his part, Howard ran for 52 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown rushing. Additionally, he had three catches for 14 yards (though he dropped a catch near the end of the game that could have won the game). Having 179 yards from scrimmage out of two players is very impressive.
The problem was they didn’t have much help.
Quarterback Mike Glennon completed 26 passes for the game. Of those completions, 11 of them went to Howard/Cohen. In fact, Bears wide receivers caught just 9 passes in the entire game, and 6 of them came in the fourth quarter (and only 2 in the entire first half).
That is unacceptable. The wide receivers need to do their job and take some pressure off Howard and Cohen. We all understand those two are integral to the offense, but they need some sort of help.
And what would a season be without an injury report on Kevin White? He left the game with a shoulder injury and the fear is that he may — get ready for this announcement — be out for the season. Howard and Cohen combined for 99 yards on the ground in the first half. That is excellent. The problem is that without getting any help from the wide receivers, the Falcons jammed the line, and Hoard and Cohen had just 19 in the second half.
While this was a good debut for the Bears running game, things will be rough for them the rest of the way without any help.

2) The defensive front played well. The secondary still needs help 

Going into the season, many felt the Bears front seven would be a strength. Well, they showed that those ideas were pretty good. As I mentioned, the Bears rushing defense was bad last season. They ranked 27th in rushing yards allowed and 25th in rushing touchdowns allowed. Against the Falcons, they performed very well against the run. That is a good sign.

Akiem Hicks and company found themselves in the backfield consistently. They got just two sacks (both of them by Hicks) but they pressured Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan all game long. He completed some big passes, but took some big hits in the process. All you can ask for from the front is to get pressure and they did that against Atlanta.

Leonard Floyd didn’t get a sack, but he recorded four tackles (one assist) and he defended a pass as well. His athleticism was on full display in the game.

While the front seven impressed, the secondary showed it still needs to improve. Cornerback Kyle Fuller didn’t give up big plays but there were some passes completed against him that he could have either gotten or stopped the receiver but allowed him to get more yards.

Fuller matched up with Julio Jones for most of the game. He got burned a bit in the first half, giving up three catches for 62 yards. It looked to be a long game, but the Falcons, for some strange reason, stayed away from Jones in the second half. They didn’t even target him once in the second half. They did use him as a decoy, though, and that worked for them.

Once again, the Bears defense failed miserably on third down. Last season, opponents converted third downs into first downs or touchdowns 50 percent of the time. Against Atlanta, that number was 45 percent. Some of those conversions in the fourth quarter really hurt the Bears. Early in the fourth, on a drive that ultimately resulted in a field goal that gave the Falcons a 13-10 lead, Hicks was called for a roughing the passer penalty on third down that allowed the drive to continue.

Later on in the fourth, on a third-and-three, Ryan threw an 88-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hooper. That made it 20-10. After the Bears responded with a touchdown, to make it 20-17, the Falcons converted a third down near the middle of the field. Instead of punting the ball away, Atlanta ended up with a field goal that forced the Bears to need a touchdown to win. That’s 13 points down the stretch of the game that prevented a Bears victory.

This is the Bears’ first regular season game with many new players on the roster. There were obviously some breakdowns that could be corrected as the players get more of a feel together. For example, on the 88-yard play, safety Quintin Demps went to help Fuller with Jones. He expected the other safety, Eddie Jackson, to provide help deep, but the rookie stayed down and ended up defending NO ONE.

The Bears secondary also had some chances at getting some interceptions that went through their hands. They tied for the fewest turnovers in NFL history last season and that needs to change for the Bears to get more wins.

The secondary didn’t do a bad job. There were just a couple of mistakes that ultimately cost them a victory. The fact that they didn’t look lost for most of the game is a positive. Some more snaps together and they could show even more improvement.

1. Glennon doesn’t inspire much

Mike Glennon seems like a nice fellow. He’s soft-spoken and works very hard. When the Bears drafted him, he got all the receivers’ numbers and called them to start working with them right away. The thing with him, however, is that he doesn’t inspire other players. He doesn’t have the “It’ factor that teammates and coaches say backup Mitchell Trubisky has.

Part of the reason for that is his abilities, or lack thereof. If he played in the 70’s or 80’s he could be pretty good. In this day and age, however, his standing in the pocket forever and inability to move hurts him.

The Falcons sacked Glennon four times. Just looking at the number, one would think the line had a bad day. That’s not the case, though. Except for Bobby Massie completely whiffing on his block on a fourth-and-goal with the game on the line, the line did a pretty good job. Glennon’s lack of mobility really hurts the offense.

I think Glennon knows he can’t get away from pressure so he goes down fast. Instead of trying to slip aside and extend the play, Glennon either goes down or he’ll throw the ball away. I understand there are times to do that, but with Glennon it happens way too much.

Yes, Glennon made some plays in the fourth with the game on the line and yes, his receivers dropped some catchable passes. Why does it happen when the game is almost lost, though? Other than Howard and Cohen, the offense dragged. Then, when down 20-10 in the middle of the fourth, he wakes up.

Glennon also had trouble with accuracy. While people lament the dropped passes, there were quite a few passes late in the game in which Glennon threw behind the receiver or threw low, forcing the receivers to make some very difficult catches.

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