3 and Out: Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers dominate Chicago Bears in 2023 season opener

Bears fail to execute on both sides of ball

Chicago Bears wide receiver DJ Moore carries the ball in traffic during the first half, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, against the Green Bay Packers in Chicago.

No Aaron Rodgers, no problem.

Quarterback Jordan Love tossed three touchdowns, and the Packers dominated the Bears 38-20 to open the 2023 season at Soldier Field. Here’s what you need to know:

Three moments that mattered

1. Way too cute: With Justin Fields running ability and a stable of quality running backs in support, Bears offensive coordinator elected to give the ball to tight end Cole Kmet, who was motioning across the formation, the direct snap on third-and-1 on the game’s opening drive. It was stuffed. The Bears then went for it on fourth-and-1 from their own 40 with Fields trying to leap over the pile. Stuffed again. It didn’t take long for Jordan Love to then give the Packers an early 7-0 lead.

2. Love gets lucky: With 14:21 left, Love initially fumbled on a rollout, but still managed to find tight end Luke Musgrave wide open for an improbable 37-yard completion inside the Bears’ 5-yard line. Love then tossed his third touchdown of the game, his second to Romeo Doubs, for a 31-14 lead and put any hopes of a Bears’ rally to bed.

3. Ball game: Fields threw into double coverage, and Packers linebacker Quay Walker ran it back 42 yards for a touchdown and a 38-14 Packers lead with 12:36 left. Fields stared down receiver Darnell Mooney the entire time. It was an easy interception.

Three things that worked

1. Here comes the boom: Rookie running back Roschon Johnson introduced himself well to Bears fans with a feisty 11-yard run with 2:07 in the third quarter. Johnson bulldozed over Packers defensive back Rudy Ford with an aggressive, physical play that eventually led to the Bears’ first touchdown got the Bears within 24-14. Johnson later scored his first NFL touchdown with 2:54 remaining.

2. Welcome addition: It’s well-documented how inconsistent the Bears’ pass-rush was last season. While Sunday showed there’s a long way to go in fixing it, veteran Yannick Ngakoue turned in a favorable debut in a Bears uniform with four tackles, one sack and two tackles for loss.

3. Speed at linebacker: As noted above, while the defensive front is going to have to create more pressure, linebackers TJ Edwards and Tremaine Edmunds had productive debuts with a combined 22 total tackles.

Three things that didn’t

1. The entire offense: Where to start? Execution from players is half the equation, but it wasn’t a strong opening showing for offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, either. The Bears lacked any sort of consistent downfield threat to keep Green Bay off balance, the run game was lukewarm, Fields was under duress all afternoon and the list goes on. There’s a long way to go.

2. Doubling down: The Packers won in total yards, yards per play, turnover differential and virtually every facet that matters. The Bears were 2 of 12 converting third downs, while the Packers were 9 of 15. Of many areas to choose from on a sluggish day for the offense, not sustaining drives was an easy thing to circle with the red pen.

3. Don’t forget: The offense gets the brunt of the initial scorn, but the defense was gashed. The Packers scored 38 points and Love certainly passed the test in their post-Rodgers quarterback world with his 245-yard, three-touchdown performance Sunday.

What’s next?

The Bears visit Baker Mayfield and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kickoff is at noon Sunday, Sept. 17.

Jacob Bartelson

Jacob Bartelson

Jake is a full-time sports reporter writing primarily for the Kane County Chronicle covering preps. His collective work is featured across several Shaw markets and platforms, including Friday Night Drive and Bears Insider. Jake began full-time in 2017.