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Notes: Bears lose to Packers again, and I really don’t wanna write about it

The Bears start off their 2023 season in familiar fashion.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it’s Groundhog Day. Again.

For the ninth time in a row, the Chicago Bears lost to the Packers. This time, such a loss served as the kickoff for Chicago’s 2023 season, as they lost 38-20 at Soldier Field on Sunday to start the season at 0-1.

For the first half of the game, both teams seemed to be rusty heading into the new year, but the halftime score of 10-6 in Green Bay’s favor indicated it was still anyone’s game. Once the second half started, though, one team was able to capitalize on nearly every opportunity granted to them, and spoiler alert: that team wasn’t the Bears.

Here are some of my key takeaways from Sunday’s Bears loss.


Have the Bears had worse offensive performances than what they had in their 2023 season opener? Sure, but that doesn’t change the fact the unit still couldn’t get the job done.

It was a tale of two halves for Justin Fields, as it was for the defense (and don’t worry, we’ll get to that). Fields entered halftime 10-for-14 (71.4%) with 96 passing yards, as well as five rushes for 36 yards. The second half saw him pick up a touchdown and add 120 more passing yards to his total, but he also went just 14-for-23 (60.8%) and threw a pick-six in the process.

The offensive line did give Fields a bit more time in the first two quarters, and he looked confident and poised in the pocket. That poise slowly but surely disappeared in the second half, and by the end of the game, he had been sacked four times. The flashes through the air were there, but his decision-making with the ball — both in and out of the pocket — prevented the Bears from putting together much outside of garbage time.

Interestingly enough, three of Green Bay’s four sacks came along the interior, with the likes of Devonte Wyatt, Karl Brooks and Kenny Clark combining for those plays. Rookie Lukas Van Ness tallied a sack of his own in his NFL debut against his hometown team.

The performance of Chicago’s receivers will be better evaluated when the All-22 comes out, but DJ Moore underwhelmed a bit with just two catches for 25 yards in his Bears regular-season debut. Granted, he caught both of his only two targets, but one has to wonder why he wasn’t involved more. Darnell Mooney was on the receiving end of Fields’ lone touchdown pass and finished with 4 catches for 53 yards. Cole Kmet had 5 catches for 44 yards, while Chase Claypool had more drops (1) than catches (0) on two targets.

The Bears couldn’t get much going in the running game, either. Their three-headed monster of Khalil Herbert, Roschon Johnson and D’Onta Foreman combined for 19 carries and just 63 yards, giving them 3.3 yards per carry as a group. Johnson was the best of the bunch with 20 rushing yards and a touchdown on 5 carries, and he also caught 6 passes for 35 yards as a checkdown option. He looked the most promising, but the bar around him wasn’t exactly high to begin with.

In what was hyped as the beginning of a new era, the Bears’ offense showed more of the same: inconsistency in the passing game marred by poor pass protection, questionable play-calling and a rollercoaster in terms of throwing accuracy. The highs were pretty high, but even then, some of the Bears’ longest offensive drives stalled inside the Packers’ 20-yard line.


Three players looked good on the Bears’ defense upon first glance: Tremaine Edmunds, Yannick Ngakoue, and run support T.J. Edwards.

Edwards led the team with 14 tackles and cleaned up a lot of the dirty work at the second level. Coverage was a bit less consistent for him, but when he got the chance to make a tackle, he did his job quite well. Edmunds finished with 8 tackles of his own, two of them being for losses. His explosiveness and large frame gave him that expansive tackling range and allowed him to get to the ball well. Ngakoue had the Bears’ lone sack on Sunday, throwing in an additional tackle for a loss in the process, too.

There were some flashes defending against the run — especially in limiting AJ Dillon to just 19 yards on 13 carries — but other than that, Chicago’s defense didn’t do their disappointing offense any favors.

The coverage was especially porous, particular when Jordan Love went 8-for-11 with 127 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the second half. 28 second-half points — 21, if you’re only counting the Packers’ offense and excluding Quay Walker’s pick-six — led the way for the visiting team to run away with the victory.

Tape study will determine whether it was more heavily on the scheme’s design being cushiony — which it generally is, by design — or the players not understanding their assignments in zone. However, what isn’t up for debate is the ineffectiveness of Chicago’s secondary, especially against a Packers offense that didn’t even have their No. 1 receiver in Christian Watson. It didn’t help that the Bears were only able to generate the one aforementioned sack and just three QB hits.

After a respectable effort in the first half which saw them limit Love to a 7-for-16 outing, Chicago’s secondary fell apart late and simply looked lost, regardless of the assignment. It was a tough outing that became more brutal to watch as time passed on.

Three and out

3. I know many in the Bears stratosphere are asking themselves the question: is Justin Fields really the guy at quarterback anymore?

It’s a loaded question that can’t be answered entirely off of one game, but Sunday’s performance was not the start to a crucial Year 3 that Fields needed to solidify himself. For a full breakdown, I’ll embed a tweet that I sent out after the game yesterday:

2. I would really like to see some philosophical changes on defense going forward.

Though I understand the basis of this Bears defense is rooted in Cover-2 in a similar aspect to the mid-2000s Bears teams, this simply isn’t working with the poor pass-rushing group they have, nor is it translatable to today’s NFL. Too many times were the Packers able to carve up Chicago’s defense as a result of passive, off-man coverage or cushiony zone. For a team that praises the “HITS” principle, it certainly doesn’t make sense to play such a conservative brand of defense.

1. The honeymoon period is over.

There’s no more “oh, with a better team, this coaching staff can do better”. There’s no more “let’s give Justin Fields another season to develop. He’s working with nothing”. With all the moves the Bears made this offseason, this isn’t a roster that should serve as an asterisk for the performances of key personnel like the coaching staff and the starting quarterback. This team should be a lot better than what they put on the field in 2022. Again: it’s still Week 1, and it’s possible things turn around. That said, the leash becomes a lot tighter in 2023. If things don’t work out this year, it will be time to tear it down. Again.