CHICAGO — In the newspaper business we call it burying the lede, and it occurs to me the media covering the Chicago Bears this past week have been doing a lot of it.
Yes, the injuries to Kevin White and Jerrell Freeman, the star turns taken by Tarik Cohen and Akiem Hicks, the performance of Mike Glennon and the fact the Bears had four chances to beat the Atlanta Falcons from Atlanta’s five-yard line with less than 25 seconds to play were all interesting sidebars from the Bears’ 23-17 opening day loss to the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons.
But what should be the main focus of the Bears opener is how well the defense played and how much better it appears it can be in the coming weeks.
The Atlanta Falcons offense was historically good in 2016, leading the NFL in scoring with 540 points and finishing 2nd in total offense, 1st in average gain per play, 5th in rushing and 3rd in passing.
Easily the main reason the Bears had a chance to beat Atlanta in the closing seconds of the game was the fact the defense held the Falcons to 23 points and 372 yards of offense, and it is that much more impressive when you factor in 128 yards of that offense came on two broken plays to tight end Austin Hooper.
Obviously those plays count, but if you put them aside for a moment, the Bears defense held Atlanta to 53 plays for 244 yards (4.6 yards per play) on the afternoon, a performance we could not have imagined from the Bears defense prior to Sunday.
If they play that well again this Sunday in Tampa, an upset is a very real possibility.
First, of course,…
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