Report card: Falcons 23, Bears 17

Brooks Reed (50) of the Atlanta Falcons sacks quarterback Mike Glennon (8) of the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter at Soldier Field on September 10, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

Credit: David Banks

Credit: David Banks

Here are the grades for the Falcons from their 23-17 win over the Bears on Sunday at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

Run offense: The Falcons rushing attack was stymied. New offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian tried to feature Tevin Coleman early, but he was bottled up. Quarterback Matt Ryan had the longest gain of the game with a 13-yard scramble. Devonta Freeman scored on a 5-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Coleman and Freeman combined to rush for 53 yards on 20 carries.  Grade: C-minus

Pass offense: Ryan spread the ball around to his receivers, but didn't take enough deep shots. He finally got the ball down the field to Austin Hooper for an 88-yard catch-and-run on a Bears' defensive breakdown. On the play, Ryan was running for his life before he stopped and heaved the football about 40 yards up to Hooper, who did the rest. Ryan got walloped on the play. Hooper stiff-armed a defnder and started celebrating around the 10-yard line. Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks was disruptive and stymied the pass protection for most of the day. Hicks won his several battles with new right guard Wes Schweitzer. Sarkisian must figure out how to get All-Pro Julio Jones more involved. He had three catches for 62 yards in the first half. There wasn't a pass thrown to him on their only red zone trip of the first half. After a run to Freeman, two passes went to Gabriel after they reached the Bears' 20 late in the third quarter. The Falcons had to settle for a Matt Bryant field goal to take a 13-10 lead. Ryan completed 21 of 30 passes for 321 yards and one touchdown. Grade: B

Run defense: The Falcons knew the Bears had to run the ball, but they weren't counting on rookie Tarik Cohen being a big a part of the equation. They knew about Jordan Howard, who was coming off a 1,300 yard season. It was Cohen, a speedy and smallish running back from North Carolina A&T, who broke loose for a 46 yard gain. Grade: C

Pass defense: Quite frankly, the secondary had most of the day off as Mike Glennon elected to throw a lot of check downs. Vic Beasley and Brooks Reed had nice sacks. Nickel back Brian Poole came on a blitz from the slot. Adrian Clayborn had some nice rushes. De'Vondre Campbell broke up a potential touchdown pass to Cohen in the fourth quarter. Reed saved the day with a sack of Glennon in the final seconds of the game on fourth-and-goal. Grade B-plus.

Special teams:  Bryant made field goals of 48, 28 and 37 yards. The Falcons had three penaltie s on special teams. They had one on the opening kickoff by Kemal Ishmael, C.J. Goodwin had an unsportsmanlike penalty and Robert Alford had a holding penalty that gave the offense poor starting position on it's first drive of the fourth quarter. Grade C

Coaching: The Falcons knew they had to stop the run, but didn't. They didn't come up with a creative plan to get Jones involved, but did score on five of their nine possessions as they took a 23-17 lead with 3:24 left. The three penalties on special teams were difficult to overcome. Grade B-minus

Next up: The Falcons, in a rematch of last season's NFC Championship game, will face the Green Bay Packers in their regular-season home opener 8:30 p.m. Sunday at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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