The Chicago Bears suffered a devastating 38-20 loss to their arch-rivals, the Green Bay Packers, extending their losing streak against the Pack to a miserable nine games.
Quarterback Justin Fields, who has yet to defeat the Packers in his three-year career, expressed his disappointment and offered an apology to fans and teammates after the game.
Fields, who accounted for 87% of the Bears total yards in the season opener, completed 24-of-37 passes for 216 yards, one touchdown, one interception, and a passer rating of 78.2.
He also led the team in rushing, with nine attempts for 59 yards. However, the Bears struggled to find offensive consistency, with seven of their 12 drives ending in a punt, interception, fumble, or turnover on downs.
“It sucks,” Fields said regarding the loss to the Packers. “Rivalry, Week 1, going against the Packers. It sucks. I mean, nobody’s in good spirits. This one hurts. I’m not going to lie to you. It definitely sucks. It definitely hurts.”
“Not only because it’s the first game of the season, it’s a loss, but it’s a loss to them. So, I want to say sorry to teammates, all the fans that were rooting for us. We’ll bounce back. We’ll be good.”
Justin Fields takes accountability for the #Bears rough debut:
"I want to say sorry to the teammates and all of the fans that are rooting for us. We will bounce back. We will be good." pic.twitter.com/wmhK6zsEIF
— NFL Notifications (@NFLNotify) September 11, 2023
One significant aspect of the Bears offensive struggles was their inability to push the ball downfield, relying heavily on screen plays and short passes. Fields averaged a career-low 4.1 air yards per attempt and was only 2-for-5 with a touchdown and a pick-6 on passes of 10-plus air yards against Green Bay.
“That was just the game plan,” Fields explained. “I think just with those, we just got to be better blocking on the perimeter just to set those up. If you go back and look at the film, if we block the guys, those are big chunk plays, 10, 15, 20-yard plays.”
“That was just the game plan. If they weren’t going to match, decided we were going to throw it out there and let our guys work. Just didn’t do our best at perimeter blocking, blocking on the edge, for our guys to catch the ball and run.”
— ImBearingDown (@ImBearingDown) September 11, 2023
Wide receiver DJ Moore, who was targeted twice in the second quarter, totaling 25 yards, was never targeted again in the game. Moore commented on the team’s performance, stating: “We were more than prepared. They just outwilled us today. That’s the best way I can put it. It’s definitely a wake-up call.”
The Bear’ offensive struggles were compounded by their 3-of-13 performance on third downs and multiple offensive penalties, including three false starts and two holding calls.
“We put ourselves behind on offense a bunch of times,” said Bears coach Matt Eberflus. “I think that’s why the third downs were not what they expected to be. We got to get that cleaned up because that’s something you can improve on by being disciplined and not having those penalties. Last year we were third in the league in penalties. We can definitely clean that up. That’s correctable.”
Chicago was trailing 7-6 nearing halftime when the Packers surged ahead, scoring 17 unanswered points in the third quarter. Although a 20-yard touchdown catch by wide receiver Darnell Mooney briefly cut the Bears deficit to 24-14, the Packers quickly regained momentum. In a span of just 56 seconds, they scored two touchdowns, effectively putting the game out of reach with 12:53 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Cornerback Jaylon Johnson summed up the team’s feelings, saying: “This is disappointing. We all compete to win. Not winning and then losing in that fashion? It just felt like they whooped our ass in the second half.”
With Aaron Rodgers gone, Bears fans were hoping that this was the game that was going to finally flip the script – and on paper, it sure was the perfect opportunity.
However, at the end of the day, it was just more of the same, and Bears fans are left wondering if they have the right coach and/or quarterback. As is usually the case, Chicago is left with more questions than answers.
You have to respect the accountability that Fields is taking. However, is he truly the answer at quarterback for the Bears?
What does Chicago need to do to turn things around?