Atlanta Falcons vs. Chicago Bears

ATL
23
CHI
17
FINAL
1234T
ATL 3731023
CHI 0100717

Game Information
Location: Soldier Field Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 61,857

CHICAGO (AP) All Matt Ryan was trying to do was make something out of a broken play when he saw tight end Austin Hooper wide open near midfield.

He wound up throwing a huge touchdown pass to help Atlanta squeeze out a season-opening victory.

Ryan connected with Hooper on an 88-yard TD and led two fourth-quarter scoring drives, and the NFC champion Atlanta Falcons held on to beat the Chicago Bears 23-17 on Sunday.

The butt of jokes following their epic Super Bowl collapse against New England, the Falcons survived as the Bears missed several chances to score a touchdown in the final seconds.

"Can we play better? Absolutely," Ryan said. "Are we gonna try to work on that? For sure. But we'll take a win any day."

The Bears had a first down at the Atlanta 5 in the closing minute. Glennon's pass to a lunging Josh Bellamy on first down hit off the receiver's hands, and Jordan Howard then dropped a simple catch at the 1.

After another incompletion on third down, Glennon got sacked by Brooks Reed to end the drive.

Atlanta was clinging to a 13-10 lead early in the fourth when a scrambling Ryan fired to a wide-open Hooper near midfield. The second-year tight end from Stanford raced up the right side and stiff-armed Quintin Demps on the way to the end zone to make it a 10-point game.

The Bears then went 75 yards, with Glennon hitting rookie Tarik Cohen for a 19-yard TD midway through the fourth to cut it to 20-17. Earlier Cohen had a 46-yard run on a toss that he turned back the opposite direction.

Atlanta's Matt Bryant answered with a 37-yard field goal, making it 23-17 with 3:24 left.

Hooper, a second-year player from Stanford, felt like he "lived a lifetime" as the ball approached him.

"I think I blacked out for a part of it. Then I caught it and I felt like it was almost auto-pilot."

Ryan was nervous, too.

"When people are covered, your brain just goes off and you throw it and you cut it loose," he said. "Sometimes when you're open, it can be the most difficult."

For the Bears, it was an all-too-familiar result after going 3-13 and finishing last in the NFC North.

"It burns," tight end Zach Miller said. "It burns inside because it's close. We had ample opportunity."

Coming off an MVP season, Ryan was 21 of 30 for 321 yards and a touchdown.

Hooper had two catches for 128 yards. Julio Jones added four receptions for 66 yards receiving and Bryant kicked three field goals.

GLENNON SHAKY

In his Bears debut, Glennon didn't silence fans who would rather see No. 2 overall draft pick Mitchell Trubisky. He was 26 of 40 for 213 yards and a TD.

Cohen absorbed several big hits in an impressive debut, finishing with 66 yards rushing and 47 receiving. He reversed field on a 46-yard run, helping set up Howard's 4-yard touchdown near the end of the half.

WHITE HURT AGAIN

Receiver Kevin White found himself in a familiar position, walking off the field with an injury. He had two catches for six yards before hurting his shoulder. White was limited to four games in his first two seasons after being drafted seventh overall in 2015.

QUOTABLE

Falcons: "Last year was last year. ... We just got in there and got back to work. We just got the win today. We just put our head down and continued to work." - Jones on opening with a win coming off the Super Bowl loss.

Bears: "We could easily have been 1-0 right now standing up here. I think the enthusiasm would be a little bit different, I would think. You know, I think we're capable of getting better as we go." - Bears coach John Fox.

INJURIES:

Bears: LG Kyle Long - coming back from right ankle surgery - was inactive. Former Falcon Tom Compton started in his place. ... LB Jerrell Freeman was in the concussion protocol after the game. ... RB Benny Cunningham Jr. hurt his ankle blocking on a pass play early in the second quarter.

UP NEXT:

Falcons: Host Green Bay.

Bears: Visit Tampa Bay.

---

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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1st Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Falcons Bears
07:56 Matt Bryant 48 yd FG 3 0

2nd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Falcons Bears
14:55 Connor Barth 54 yd FG 3 3
04:29 Devonta Freeman 5 yd run (Matt Bryant kick) 10 3
00:14 Jordan Howard 4 yd run (Connor Barth kick) 10 10

3rd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Falcons Bears
02:10 Matt Bryant 28 yd FG 13 10

4th Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Falcons Bears
11:55 Austin Hooper 88 yd pass from Matt Ryan (Matt Bryant kick) 20 10
07:26 Tarik Cohen 19 yd pass from Mike Glennon (Connor Barth kick) 20 17
03:24 Matt Bryant 37 yd FG 23 17

Team Stats
  Atlanta Chicago
1st Downs 18 20
Total Yards 372 301
Passing 308 176
Passing Completions/Attempts 21-30 26-40
Yards/Pass 9.6 4.0
Rushing 64 125
Rushing Attempts 23 19
Yards/Rush 2.8 6.6
Turnovers 0 0
Fumbles Lost 0 0
Interceptions Thrown 0 0
Possession 30:34 29:26

Atlanta Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Matt Ryan 21 30 321 10.7 1 0

Chicago Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Mike Glennon 26 40 213 5.3 1 0

Atlanta Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Devonta Freeman 12 37 3.1 1 6
Tevin Coleman 8 16 2.0 0 7
Matt Ryan 3 11 3.7 0 13

Chicago Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Tarik Cohen 5 66 13.2 0 46
Jordan Howard 13 52 4.0 1 11
Michael Burton 1 7 7.0 0 7

Atlanta Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Austin Hooper 2 128 64.0 1 88
Julio Jones 4 66 16.5 0 25
Mohamed Sanu 6 47 7.8 0 15
Tevin Coleman 4 42 10.5 0 20
Taylor Gabriel 3 36 12.0 0 18
Devonta Freeman 2 2 1.0 0 2
Levine Toilolo 0 0 0.0 0
Derrick Coleman 0 0 0.0 0

Chicago Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Tarik Cohen 8 47 5.9 1 19
Zach Miller 4 39 9.8 0 12
Kendall Wright 3 34 11.3 0 16
Dion Sims 2 31 15.5 0 22
Josh Bellamy 3 27 9.0 0 14
Deonte Thompson 1 15 15.0 0 15
Jordan Howard 3 14 4.7 0 9
Kevin White 2 6 3.0 0 6

Atlanta Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Brian Poole 6 1 1 12
Deion Jones 6 1 0 0
Brooks Reed 5 0 2 21
De'Vondre Campbell 4 2 0 0
Keanu Neal 4 1 0 0
Desmond Trufant 4 0 0 0
Robert Alford 3 0 0 0
Ricardo Allen 3 0 0 0
Duke Riley 3 2 0 0
Vic Beasley Jr. 2 0 1 4
Adrian Clayborn 1 0 0 0
Damontae Kazee 1 0 0 0
Takkarist McKinley 1 1 0 0
Derrick Coleman 0 0 0 0
Jack Crawford 0 0 0 0
C.J. Goodwin 0 0 0 0
Josh Harris 0 0 0 0
Dontari Poe 0 0 0 0
Eric Saubert 0 0 0 0

Chicago Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Jerrell Freeman 7 3 0 0
Kyle Fuller 5 1 0 0
Marcus Cooper 4 0 0 0
Akiem Hicks 3 0 2 13
Quintin Demps 3 0 0 0
Leonard Floyd 3 2 0 0
Eddie Jackson 3 0 0 0
Sam Acho 2 1 0 0
Danny Trevathan 2 0 0 0
Bryce Callahan 1 1 0 0
Eddie Goldman 1 0 0 0
Mitch Unrein 1 1 0 0
Willie Young 1 0 0 0
Benny Cunningham 0 0 0 0
Christian Jones 0 0 0 0
Nick Kwiatkoski 0 1 0 0
Cre'von LeBlanc 0 0 0 0
Roy Robertson-Harris 0 0 0 0

Atlanta Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
No interceptions.

Chicago Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
No interceptions.

Atlanta Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Andre Roberts 1 11 11.0 0 11

Chicago Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Deonte Thompson 2 47 23.5 0 27
Benny Cunningham 1 23 23.0 0 23

Atlanta Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Andre Roberts 2 24 12.0 0 15

Chicago Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Tarik Cohen 3 45 15.0 0 17

Atlanta Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Matt Bryant 3 3 100.0 48

Chicago Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Connor Barth 1 1 100.0 54

Atlanta Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Matt Bosher 3 178 62

Chicago Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Patrick O'Donnell 5 244 69