Bears Insider

What we learned as Justin Fields, Bears get dismantled by Packers in season-opening flop

The "new era" of the Bears-Packers rivalry looked a lot like the old one Sunday as Jordan Love and Co. dismantled the Bears 38-20 in the season opener

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CHICAGO -- The "new era" of the Bears-Green Bay Packers rivalry officially got underway at Soldier Field on Sunday.

It looked a lot like the old era.

The Packers roared out to a 24-7 lead in the third quarter behind dominant play on both lines and better execution in critical situations.

Quarterback Justin Fields brought the Bears back to within 10, but Packers quarterback Jordan Love immediately answered with a touchdown drive of his own to stretch the lead back to 17.

On the ensuing Bears possession, Packers linebacker Quay Walker picked off Fields and took it back to the house to drive the final nail in the Bears' coffin. Love finished the game 15-for-27 for 245 yards and three touchdowns.

Here's what we learned in the Bears' season-opening 38-20 loss vs. the Packers:

Missed opportunities

The Bears' first half was littered with missed opportunities.

The Bears' season got off to an inauspicious start.

Faced with a third-and-1 on their opening drive, the Bears opted to run a TE sneak with Cole Kmet, but the Packers snuffed it out for no gain. Head coach Matt Eberflus rolled the dice early, electing to go for it on fourth-and-1 from his own 40.

This time, the Bears tried a quarterback sneak, but Preston Smith stopped Fields for no gain, giving the Packers an early gift.

Love took advantage of the short field position and led the Packers on an 11-play, 40-yard drive that he capped off with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Romeo Doubs on third-and-goal.

Attempting to author a quick answer, the Bears' offense quickly moved into Packers territory thanks to a 23-yard pass from Fields to Darnell Mooney. But the drive stalled after that as Chase Claypool dropped a tipped pass on third-and-7 to bring out kicker Cairo Santos for a 47-yard field goal.

After forcing another three-and-out, the Bears' offense marched right back into Packers territory as back-to-back passes from Fields to DJ Moore put the Bears inside the 10-yard line.

But the Bears once again were unable to finish off the drive.

Packers rookie Lukas Van Ness sacked Fields on second-and-goal, and Rasul Douglas broke up a third-and-goal pass for Kmet to force the Bears to kick another field goal.

Sluggish offense

On Sunday, the Bears' offense looked like a unit that failed to find a consistent rhythm during training camp.

A running attack that was one of the best in the NFL in 2022 struggled to gain any traction in the first half. If you take out Fields' five rushes for 36 yards, the Bears rushed 11 times for 22 yards. The offensive line, which hasn't played together due to injuries, was pushed around up front.

In the passing game, the Bears focused on the screen and short game, something the Packers' defense quickly caught on to in the first half. Fields was an efficient 10-for-14 for 96 yards at half, but the lack of creativity in the passing game is concerning.

The offense didn't get better in the second half.

The Bears started their first drive of the third quarter with a play-action pass deep in their own end zone. Left tackle Braxton Jones missed his assignment, allowing Devonte Wyatt to easily sack Fields for a loss of 11. A screen pass to D'Onta Foreman and a short pass to Roschon Johnson forced the Bears to punt, leading to the first wave of boos at Soldier Field.

The Bears' only signs of offensive life came when the Packers already had them pinned on the mat.

Down 18, the Bears opened up the playbook a bit and got some help from Packers penalties to finally find the end zone as Fields hit Mooney for a 20-yard score. A successful two-point conversion cut the lead to 10.

The touchdown play was perfectly designed and executed. Mooney and Claypool's route combinations worked perfectly to spring Mooney open, the offensive line picked up the blitz, and Fields delivered a strike for six.

Fields finished the game 24-for-37 for 216 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. The offensive issues don't fall on his shoulders. The play-calling was predictable and uninventive, the line looked like it hadn't played together, and the receivers didn't consistently separate.


Questionable coaching decisions from Eberflus, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, and defensive coordinator Alan Williams were all over Sunday's debacle.

We already touched on the decision to go for it on fourth-and-1 from their own 40 to start the game. I didn't necessarily hate the decision, but the Bears not running the Eagles' "tush push" to gain 1 yard was a whiff.

On the offensive side of the ball, Getsy's assistance in sticking with a screen game that was largely ineffective led to the boobirds arriving early in the third quarter.

The drive that ended in the Bears' second field had a particularly maddening sequence. Back-to-back passes to Moore got the Bears inside the 10, but Moore came out of the game after the second reception. The Bears ended up going backward on first and second down before Moore re-entered on third down.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears made some curious defensive line substitutions in critical situations.

On their first drive, the Packers faced a critical third-and-goal from the 8-yard line. Needing a pass rush, the Bears trotted out a defensive line of Dominique Robinson, DeMarcus Walker, Andrew Billings, and Yannick Ngakoue. That unit got no push, Love patted the ball once and threw a dart to Doubs for a touchdown.

On the Packers' first touchdown drive of the second half, the Bears once again needed a stop in the red zone and mixed up their defensive line rotation, going with Rasheem Green, Justin Jones, Gervon Dexter, and Ngakoue. Again, it proved ineffective as Aaron Jones plunged into the end zone to give them a 17-6 lead.

The defensive line rotations were curious and didn't seem to line up with the situations. The Bears needed juice off the edge in the first situation, but the Packers stonewalled Robinson. They needed Billings on the field to guard against the run in the second situation, and instead, the Packers punished Jones and Dexter.

The Bears are now 3-24 in their last 27 games against the Packers. As long as they continue to be outcoached and outexecuted, that won't change for a while.

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