CHICAGO – So how good are the 2017 Chicago Bears? Apparently just good enough to lose on the last play of the game to one of the best teams in the NFL.
That’s why I was so intrigued when I heard what Falcons quarterback and reigning NFL Most Valuable Player Matt Ryan (above, left) said after the game when he was asked whetehr he was frustrated by the Bears' defense Sunday in the Falcons' 23-17 victory.
“We knew coming into it, a tough front seven to go against, very difficult to run the ball against them," Ryan said. "One of the better defenses against the run in the league, and that kind of played out that way."
The last time the Bears commanded that kind of respect from a quality NFL opponent was after the 2012 season, when Lovie Smith was fired after the Bears went 10-6.
In fact, the Bears' defense was very good against the Falcons, holding them to 23 points and 64 rushing yards (2.8 yards a carry) after Atlanta averaged 33.8 points a game last year and 120.5 rushing yards (4.58 a carry).
The Bears actually weren’t bad against the pass, either, if you note that while the Falcons finished the game 21 for 30 passing for 308 yards, 88 yards of that and the lone touchdown through the air came on a blown coverage on tight end Austin Hooper and a couple of badly missed tackles.