Keys to the Game
The Running Game: The Bears finished the game with 125 yards on only 19 carries, which was good for a 6.6 YPC average. Jordan Howard punched in a touchdown from a wildcat look with Tarik Cohen running point. All in all, I would say that the running game was sufficient but perhaps should have been utilized more, especially in the second half.
The Defensive Front: The Bears defense did a phenomenal job stopping the run against perhaps the premier running back duo in the NFL. The Falcons could only muster 64 yards on 23 carries, which comes out to 2.8 YPC. That is fantastic! Akiem Hicks racked up 2 sacks, fresh off of his recent contract extension. The downside here is that the rest of the front failed to get consistent pressure on Matt Ryan. Overall, this unit played well enough to win on Sunday.
The X-Factor: There really wasn’t anything special about the special teams play but they didn’t make any mistakes either. The coverage units were solid and the return men made smart decisions. This unit has potential to be pretty good but it was simply solid against the Falcons.
3 Bears Up
Akiem Hicks: With 2 sacks, 3 tackles and 3 quarterback hits, Hick certain earned his money in week 1. I am excited to see that, so far, Hicks is every bit the player he was last year and appeared to play angry at times. In a few stretches in the 1st and 2nd quarters, he was nearly unblockable.
Tarik Cohen: The rookie running back did a little bit of everything. He rushed 5 times for 66 yards, caught 8 passes for 47 yards and a touchdown, returned 3 punts for 45 yards and just for good measure, lined up at quarterback and handed the ball to Jordan Howard on Howard’s touchdown run. The highlight of the game came via Cohen’s 46 yard scamper that saw bit of vision, power, speed, elusiveness and balance. The future is bright for the young man.
Kyle Fuller: Fuller had a tough task in week 1, matching up a good portion of the time against Julio Jones. I think that Fuller played well while holding Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel to a combined 13 catches for 149 yards. Obviously all of that wasn’t on Fuller but he had a pass defensed and was excellent in showing off his open field tackling ability. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fuller replace Marcus Cooper, once Prince Amukamara is healthy.
3 Bears Down
Mike Glennon: Despite the fact that the Bears called his performance “fine,” it simply was not good enough to win against the reigning NFC Champions. Glennon was 7 of 9 for 41 yards passing the first half. That is unacceptable. He also struggled mightily with accuracy and pressure. He was sacked 4 times, and made a throw from “in the grasp” another. While watching the replays, it appeared that he could have escaped the pressure on all 5 occasions. He did play well down the stretch when the Falcons were giving up the underneath throws. But he will need to be better if this team is going to win games.
Quintin Demps: Forget about the Austin Hooper, 88-yard touchdown catch for a moment. Demps missed several tackles prior to that play and simply did not show the leadership that we were sold on when he was signed, and subsequently, made a captain. The blown coverage on the Hooper catch was unforgivable. It is debatable who was responsible for that snafu, but since Demps took responsibility, I am going to pin this on him. He needs to be better going forward.
Leonard Floyd: Floyd flashed a few plays but the was not enough. Granted, Vic Fangio had Floyd in coverage quite a bit in this game, he needed to get more pressure on Matt Ryan. There were long stretches where Ryan could simply move around in the pocket at will, and that is unacceptable for a player with Floyd’s skillset to not show up in the opener against a good team. I believe he will be better but this was not his best effort.
What are your thoughts on who played well and who didn’t?
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