Chicago Bears @ Atlanta Falcons
This one looked well in hand for Atlanta heading into the fourth quarter. After all, it’s not like the Falcons have a suspect defense, right? Well, there was that whole debacle against Dallas last week when a 29-10 halftime lead disappeared, but surely the lowly Bears couldn’t pull it off as well. Right? Sorry Atlanta. This time, the Falcons gave up 20 unanswered to Chicago as they watched a 26-10 lead become a 30-26 loss. I really do feel for Falcons fans as their team heads to 0-3 on the year. On the bright side, it can’t get much worse.
Mitch Trubisky: 13/22, 128 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 1 carry, 45 yards
Nick Foles: 16/29, 188 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT; 3 carries, -3 yards
I came into this one defending Trubisky and his play this season. He did well last week against an admittedly bad Giants team. Well, that all changed this week. Once again, Trubisky failed to hit anyone deep, and it put Chicago in a hole. Throw in a bad interception where Trubisky failed to see a defender, and it looked like the team needed a spark. Enter Nick Foles. Foles started out pretty rough as well, but he found his groove in the fourth quarter. Three touchdowns and a crazy win later, Foles should be the no-brainer starter in week 4 against a beatable Colts team. He looked composed, and he made good decisions late to keep Chicago driving. I am excited to see what Matt Nagy and Nick Foles can cook up together. Be aware that the O-line generally looked bad in this one, so temper expectations accordingly against stronger defensive fronts.
David Montgomery: 14 carries, 45 yards; 3 targets, 2 receptions, 9 yards
Tarik Cohen: 2 carries, 21 yards; 6 targets, 3 receptions, 20 yards
Cordarelle Patterson: 4 carries, 13 yards
Let’s start with the headline: it looks like Tarik Cohen tore his ACL. A defender landed on his leg during a fair catch, and he immediately was grimacing in pain. Cohen looked good in the game and it’s too bad we can’t see him and Foles working together. David Montgomery saw a good amount of work, but the offensive line was not his friend. It felt like he was being blown up in the backfield on every other play. I remember at least two instances where the whole front collapsed and he was crushed before he could think. With Cohen out, Montgomery should see a bigger workload. I am rolling with him in week 4 despite the mediocre outing today. Cordarelle Patterson should be watched; if he eats up the Cohen roll, I see him as worth owning and possibly flex worthy.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Allen Robinson: 13 targets, 10 receptions, 123 yards, 1 TD
Anthony Miller: 5 targets, 2 receptions, 41 yards, 1 TD
Jimmy Graham: 10 targets, 6 receptions, 60 yards, 2 TDs
Darnell Mooney: 5 targets, 2 receptions, 19 yards
Heading into the fourth quarter, this one was looking ugly. Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller had a combined 6 catches and no touchdowns. Well, the Foles magic lives on. Anthony Miller got open in the endzone and made a diving touchdown catch. Allen Robinson somehow broke through two tackles and ran free for a score of his own. It was nice to see the offense firing on all cylinders with the new signal caller. Miller could have had an even bigger day had Trubisky hit him on an earlier deep shot where he beat the defense. Still, we’ll take what we can get. I see the stock of both receivers rising with Foles. Jimmy Graham is also worth mentioning. He was regularly fed in the redzone and is a nice TD-dependent streamer at the position. Keep an eye on Darnell Mooney in deeper leagues.
Matt Ryan: 19/38, 238 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 1 carry, -1 yard
Early on, I thought Ryan looked good. He continued to show off his connection with Calvin Ridley as the duo looked on pace to connect for 200+ yards. Unfortunately, the Chicago defense saw what we all did: a team with one reliable weapon in the passing game. Stop that weapon, and stop the offense. After his hot start Ryan cooled off and the Falcons’ lead slipped away. Ryan is still an excellent option at quarterback as long as Julio is back on the field. Without Julio, though, the offense proved too one-dimensional for my liking.
Todd Gurley: 14 carries, 80 yards, 1 TD; 2 targets, 1 reception, 2 yards
Brian Hill: 9 carries, 58 yards, 1 TD; 3 targets, 1 reception, 22 yards
Todd Gurley started out a bit slow in this one, and his fans won’t be happy to see the work Brian Hill vultured. Still, Gurley was never threatened as the lead back. Maybe that would change if Hill lights it up again next week, but I don’t see it. Aside from one long (and granted impressive) run, Hill didn’t show me enough to say he deserved lead duties. Continue rolling with Gurley if you have him; he is eating more than enough, and this offense has been plenty potent. While I’m not starting Hill, it would be crazy not to pick him up if you have Gurley. Hill looks like the handcuff to own, and we know Gurley has a health history.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Calvin Ridley: 13 targets, 5 receptions, 110 yards; 1 carry, 7 yards
Julio Jones: DNP
Olamide Zacccheaus: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 41 yards
Russell Gage: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 26 yards
Hayden Hurst: 3 targets, 1 reception, 1 TD
This outcome should teach us a few things. First, Julio Jones is not holding back Calvin Ridley. If anything, I think the presence of Jones on the field helps Ridley as it spreads the coverage out. Second, Calvin Ridley is legit–in case you hadn’t heard. Ridley dominated early, allowing the Falcons to build their early lead thanks to a 63-yard catch. He was heavily targeted, though the defense kept a close eye on him. Third, Russell Gage is still a bit of an unknown. He went into concussion protocol and missed a portion of the game. It’s safe to say that Gage benefits from openings created by Ridley and Jones, and I don’t trust him or the other weapons outside of what Ridley and Jones create for them. Still, I expect him to have that benefit all season.
Mike Miklius (@SIRL0INofBEEF)