Jessie Bates bails out the Atlanta Falcons in ugly week one win

Sep 10, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons safety Jessie Bates III (3) reacts after an
Sep 10, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons safety Jessie Bates III (3) reacts after an / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons are 1-0 on the season after beating the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in a game that was completely built around the defense. There is zero question that without Jessie Bates the Falcons don't win this game and perhaps even see it roll completely out of hand.

Bates set up three of Atlanta's scores with turnovers catching two interceptions and forcing a fumble that was recovered by Lorenzo Carter. The Atlanta offense was far from the exciting unit that fans expected to see booing the conservative playcalling and watching as Arthur Smith trusted Desmond Ridder only once to push the ball down the field.

While it might have been an ugly game the win counts all the same. Though there are clear reasons for concern the Falcons clearly have built a solid defense with Bates and a re-inforced defensive line fixing many of the problems from last season.

Atlanta's pass rush started out slowly but rattled Bryce Young in the second half holding the Carolina offense to 10 points. This in itself is an impressive accomplishment when you consider how few sustained drives Atlanta's offense had to offer.

There was only one drive that wasn't set up by Jessie Bates that kept the team on the field and resulted in points.

With plenty to clean up before week two, it should be a busy week for a roster that clearly needs to work on the passing attack and fix their pass protection. Drake London didn't touch the ball at all on Sunday and Mack Hollins was the only receiver with a catch.

Despite Arthur Smith's style and Atlanta's impressive talent in the backfield this simply cannot be maintained. Heading into week two against Green Bay there should be a lot of focus put on getting Desmond Ridder going early and taking more pressure off of this defense than the team was able to against Carolina.