Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan comes up big in win over Chicago Bears

By Tom Musick, The Sports Xchange
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (L) talks with Chicago Bears quarterback Mike Glennon after the game Sunday in Chicago. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (L) talks with Chicago Bears quarterback Mike Glennon after the game Sunday in Chicago. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo

CHICAGO -- Matt Ryan completed 21 of 30 passes for 321 yards and a touchdown, and the Atlanta Falcons held on for a 23-17 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field.

The Bears' comeback attempt fizzled inside the 10-yard line in the final seconds. Falcons defensive end Brooks Reed sacked Bears quarterback Mike Glennon on fourth-and-goal to preserve the victory.


An 88-yard touchdown pass from Ryan to tight end Austin Hooper helped the Falcons grab a double-digit lead early in the fourth quarter. Running back Devonta Freeman also scored for Atlanta (1-0).

Quarterback Mike Glennon completed 26 of 40 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown in his Bears debut. Rookie running back Tarik Cohen racked up 113 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown for Chicago (0-1).


A defensive breakdown by the Bears led to Hooper's long touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Ryan was pressured heavily in the pocket, but spotted his second-year tight end open down the field. Hooper fielded the pass and stiff-armed safety Quintin Demps to build the Falcons' lead to 20-10.

The Bears pulled within 20-17 on a 19-yard touchdown catch by Cohen with 7:26 remaining.

Another long reception by Hooper, this time for 40 yards, set up a field goal to increase Atlanta's lead to 23-17 with 3:24 to play.

Glennon nearly engineered a comeback win after taking over at Chicago's 18-yard line with 3:18 to play. The Bears had first-and-goal from the 5-yard line with 21 seconds remaining, but Glennon threw three incomplete passes before Reed sacked him from behind.

The Falcons took a 13-10 lead late in the third quarter after settling for a 28-yard field goal by Matt Bryant. The kick capped a 13-play, 76-yard drive that stalled in the red zone.

The halftime score was even at 10-10.

After both teams swapped field goals, Atlanta grabbed a 10-3 advantage on a 5-yard touchdown run by Freeman with 4:29 to go in the first half. Freeman bounced to the outside and beat Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller in a foot race to the left corner of the end zone.


Chicago evened the score with 14 seconds remaining in the half. Cohen lined up in the wildcat formation and caught a shotgun snap. He quickly handed off the ball to fellow running back Jordan Howard, who swept right and leaped into the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown.

NOTES: Falcons WR Julio Jones hauled in his 500th career reception in the first half. The 28-year-old is No. 3 on the franchise's all-time list, trailing only Roddy White (808 receptions) and Tony Gonzalez (573). ... Bears WR Kevin White was knocked out of the game after injuring his shoulder in the fourth quarter. ... Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian made his debut as the team's play-caller. Sarkisian succeeded Kyle Shanahan, who left after the Super Bowl to become head coach the San Francisco 49ers. ... Bears OL Kyle Long (ankle), WR Markus Wheaton (finger) and CB Prince Amukamara (ankle) were inactive.

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