For Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons, being able to rebound from setbacks have been a positive trait over the past few seasons.
After a lackluster and disappointing 30-12 loss to Lovie Smith’s Chicago Bears, the Falcons will have to rebound quickly as Atlanta will face Michael Vick’s Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2.
In most circumstances, if Ryan is able throw for 300 passing yards and Michael Turner runs for a hundred or more rushing yards, one would think that would mean a win for the Falcons.
On a sunny day in Chicago, it wasn’t the case and untimely turnovers helped to put the Falcons in the inevitable position of trying to avoid going the dreaded 0 and 2 to start the season.
Fortunately for the hometown Falcons, New Orleans and Tampa Bay loss their opening games. So Atlanta has an opportunity to get back on track.
Ryan had a statistically nice day, but the lack of explosive plays was evident thanks to the Chicago Bears’ veteran and ‘bend/don’t break’ defense.
When the opportunistic Chicago Bears’ linebacker Brian Urlacher took a Matt Ryan fumble for a 12-yard touchdown, things went all the way downhill in the second half.
Atlanta did harass turnover prone quarterback Jay Cutler early in the game and the Falcons’ John Abraham was in the Bears’ backfield early and often in collecting two sacks.
However, it begs the question, “Where was Ray Edwards?”
Edwards was a big-time free agent acquisition who was seen to be that metaphorical bookend to complement Abraham.
Edwards finished the game with just one tackle and was virtually non-existent on defense as the Bears got stronger as the game continued.
Most Falcon fans are willing to give Edwards the benefit of the doubt and believe he will be a significant upgrade over Jamaal Anderson, who was recently released this past summer.
However, Edwards’ ‘ghost’ performance against Jay Cutler and the Bears will not be held against him and he has plenty of time to get back on track of sacking the other team’s quarterback in future games.
Cutler finished with 312 yards passing and multi-purpose running back Matt Forte provided explosive plays as a runner and a receiver. The 6’2, 225 running back best highlight a 56-yard reception to help the Bears extend a first-half lead.
Speaking of explosive players, Julio Jones had a nice game to start his career with a five-catch, 71 yard performance. Tony Gonzalez led all receivers with 72 yards.
The Chicago Bears are sometimes forgotten in the discussion as one of the league’s best teams and during the short preseason, most prognosticators had pegged Green Bay and New Orleans as the teams to beat along with Atlanta receiving a lot of praise and accolades.
Atlanta finished the preseason winless, but nobody really made much of it. With the Falcons, 0 and 1, should it be a cause for concern?
It is not a time to panic after one game, because the Falcons started last season with a road loss against last year’s Super Bowl participant-the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Falcons had lost 16-13 in overtime.
This particular road loss at Chicago is a little different as the Falcons lost control of the game after halftime and the Bears’ defense was able to set the tone and made Matt Ryan look uncomfortable in the pocket despite his 300 yard passing performance.
The Philadelphia game will be played on Sunday night on national television along with being the first time that Michael Vick will face his old team as a starting quarterback since his 2007 departure.