Ryan Leads Falcons to Two Big 4th Quarter Drives as Atlanta Tops Chicago 23-17

It took the 2017 Falcons to look like the 2016 Falcons, but Matt Ryan played like an MVP in the fourth quarter, doing enough to lead two scoring drives to help Atlanta to a 23-17 win over a gritty Chicago Bears team.

Ryan threw an 88-yard touchdown to Austin Hooper and also led another drive which eventually lead to a Matt Bryant field goal, helping the Falcons get the six-point win.

The MVP from a season ago threw for 321 yards, but overall there has to be some concern about an offense that really took awhile to get going on a day when they wanted to put their Super Bowl hangover away once and for all.

“We won the game and at the end of the day that’s why we prepare all week,” Ryan said. “Can we play better? Absolutely. Are we going to try to work on that? Absolutely. But we’ll take a win every day.”

The pass to Hooper that was so wild in the fact how wide open the tight end was, it was stunning that he was sitting in the middle of the field open waiting for Ryan’s pass to get there.

“I feel like I lived a lifetime in my head when the ball was in the air. I’m not even kidding. I think I blacked out for part of it,” Hooper said.

New offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has his work cut out for him in making the Falcons offense a more well oiled machine on a weekly basis, for this week they were good enough to get past a Bears team that likely will be in the rear in the NFC North.

“We knew (the running game) would be a challenge, they’re stout and they’re square,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said of the Bears defense.

“We didn’t anticipate that much of a challenge, we thought we’d get it going eventually. Today, we didn’t have the space we thought we’d have.”

Hopefully that space will come more in next week’s home opener in front of a National TV audience against the Packers.


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