It was ugly. There is no denying that at all. It was ugly, had a funny smell, and will be one of the more forgotten wins in the Dan Quinn era.
But in actuality, it may also be an important win.
The offense only mustered 376 total yards and the run game had its lowest rushing total since the mid-November loss to the Eagles on the road last season. Wide receiver Julio Jones only garnered four catches (we'll get to that later), while the defense gave up more first downs (20 to 18) and 6.6 yards per carry.
Despite all of that, a young team still trying to learn how to win, found a way to win. They did not win thanks to an offensive avalanche. They did not win thanks to a defense that forced a multitude of turnovers which converted to offensive triumph. They won because a play needed to be made at the right time.
I don't mean just late in the fourth quarter. It's coming up with a sack on 3rd-and-8 deep within Falcons territory to stop a promising Chicago drive that could have resulted in a touchdown. It's making a throw on 3rd-and-3 early in the fourth quarter to a wide open tight end that led to an 88-yard touchdown while getting blasted by two defensive linemen.
After coming off the bad taste in their mouth from that game that is played every February, the Falcons learned a hard lesson on the art of closing a football game. They also learned that there is a need to adapt within football. Believe it or not, but these kind of games help mold a team. These type of games provide insight on how to win in the NFL. For a young team that now has a bullseye on their backs, the Falcons were given a unique test on how to take a punch and deliver the final blow. They passed.
Some things within this Bears week one contest must get straightened out as soon as possible. Certain aspects such as targeting the freakish Julio Jones in the red-zone, staying disciplined in blocking assignments, being more reliable in the tackling phase, and polishing the offensive play calling are facets that must and will get addressed before the Falcons 2017 home opener against Green Bay on Sunday night.
Back to the topic at hand. It is easy for onlookers to watch what transpired between the Bears and the Falcons and see a team that is on the verge of "Hangoverville". That viewpoint is understandable.
But if anyone wants to be optimistic, it is also easy to see a team that realized that wins won't be easy nor guaranteed. The Falcons were literally five yards away from being generating another meme of embarrassment. Along with a strong defensive stand and a little serendipity, the Falcons emerged 1-0 and now have the Green Bay Packers on tap in an important prime-time game.
So what that the Falcons did not pour 600 yards and 56 points on the Bears? So what that Matt Ryan and Julio Jones did not set opening-day records that puts their names further into the mists of Falcons legend? So what that the defense did not record to most pick-6s in one game?
They did something that we have not often seen from them in recent seasons. They found a way to walk away victorious despite adverse circumstances.