Here’s a fun fact: Through his first two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, Brooks Reed had exactly two regular season sacks. If you had given up on him ever being anything more than a decent (albeit expensive) rotational guy, I can’t exactly blame you.
That said, the talent has always been there for Reed to be more. He had a lapse against Tarik Cohen in this game, but he also quietly had one of the better pass rushing days for these Falcons, until it wasn’t so quiet any more. Reed finished with two sacks, which equals his career total in Atlanta, and the last one could not have been more vital.
If Austin Hooper’s huge touchdown was the play that won the game for Atlanta--and in many ways, it was—Reed was the one that preserved that win. Facing a short fourth down near the goal line, with no time left to respond if Chicago had scored, Reed came up with the sack.
For the team’s psyche, for the fanbase’s psyche, and for that all-important early season road win, this play could not have mattered more. It showed the Falcons were capable of closing out a rough game, even if it was far rougher than it should have been, and it showed that Reed is still a valuable player even if his first two years were marked by uneven play.
I’ll take that W, thank you.