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Bears took some air out of Falcons' offense

(TSX / STATS) -- FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Like most of the offenses around the league, the Atlanta Falcons were not clicking on all cylinders to open the 2017 season.

After leading the league in scoring at 34 points a game, they scored only 23 in a victory over the Chicago Bears.

It appeared that new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is still trying to figure out how to use his main offensive weapon, wide receiver Julio Jones, who caught four of five targets for 66 yards and only one pass in the second half.

Jones, who was recovering from foot surgery, played only eight snaps in the exhibition season.

"We got a lot of things to clean up," Jones said. "We got what we set out for, and that was 'W.'"

The timing appeared to be off at times in the passing attack.

"We just have to continue to keep working in-game," Jones said. "Just getting better. They did a great job on defense, early on limiting us early in the game not giving up explosive plays. We got to continue to work on us, and when those plays present themselves, we got to hit those plays."

Jones doesn't believe that timing is a long-term issue for the offense.

"It's not that hard," Jones said.

Jones helped to power the Falcons to the Super Bowl last season with Kyle Shanahan as the offensive coordinator. Shanahan left to become San Francisco's head coach.

"Last year was last year," Jones said. "We just have to go back in there and get to work. We need to put our heads down and continue to keep working. Last year was last year. This is the 2017 Falcons football team. We got to build our own legacy this year."

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is confident that Sarkisian will figure out how to unleash Jones.

"There's always unique stuff that goes to him," Quinn said. "I'm sure there will be plenty of other games where he is going to get a lot of targets."

Quarterback Matt Ryan, the league's reigning most valuable player, is not overly concerned.

"Like always, there's going to be help over the top of Julio, they account for where's he's at," Ryan said. "I thought they did a nice job. But still, I'm not sure how many catches he had but had a couple nice explosives for us which is huge, critical."

--The Falcons plan to open the retractable roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium for Sunday night's home opener against the Green Bay Packers if weather conditions are favorable.

It would be the first time an event is held in the new $1.5 billion stadium with the roof open -- and the first open-air Falcons game in Atlanta since Dec. 15, 1991, the team's final game at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

The Falcons played their home games indoors at the Georgia Dome from 1992 through last season.

The first five events in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium -- two Falcons exhibition games, two college football games and one soccer match -- have been played with the retractable roof closed as work continues to fully automate the complex, eight-panel roof.

--The offense recorded 372 total yards against the Bears and posted only three 10-plus-play drives. Last season, the Falcons recorded 31 10-play drives.

--The Falcons had eight penalties for 73 yards.

--The special-teams units had three penalties as Kemal Ishmael, C.J. Goodwin and Robert Alford were all called for infractions. Ishmael's was the most damaging as it brought back a 63-yard kickoff return by Andre Roberts.

"The one for Alford, I'm going to look down the sideline," head coach Dan Quinn said. "I know why they called the one on the (kickoff) return early against (Ishmael), so we we'll go back and take a look at it. It did feel at times like too many fouls."

Left tackle Jake Matthews (offensive holding), linebacker Vic Beasley Jr. (defensive holding), left guard Andy Levitre (offensive holding), linebacker Deion Jones (unnecessary roughness) and Alford (defensive holding) were also called for penalties.

NOTES: QB Matt Ryan went 21 of 30 for 321 yards and one touchdown, with a 116.1 passer rating. Ryan extended his streak to 56 games with at least 200 yards passing, an NFL record. ... TE Austin Hooper recorded his first 100-yard receiving game of his career. He caught two passes for 128 yards, including an 88-yard touchdown reception, the longest of his career and the longest touchdown catch by a tight end in a season opener in NFL history. ... RB Devonta Freeman recorded his 30th career touchdown and his 24th rushing. ... WR Julio Jones, on his third catch of the game, recorded his 500th career reception. Jones tied Anquan Boldin for the fastest player to reach 500 career receptions in NFL history -- 80 games. Jones finished the game with four receptions for 66 yards.

--LB Vic Beasley Jr. recorded his first sack of the season. Last year, he led the league with 15.5 sacks, second most in franchise history.

Updated September 11, 2017

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