As the old saying goes: the more things change, the more they stay the same. That was the case for the Green Bay Packers after winning their 9th straight game against the Chicago Bears. After demolishing Justin Fields and the Bears 38-20 on the road, this Packers team is off to a hot start in the Jordan Love era. I know, it’s just one game, but the Packers win on Sunday was a huge statement to the league, national media, and to Packers fans worldwide. After an off-season highlighted by outside doubt and pessimism, love is in the air in Green Bay. Let’s look back on the thrilling Week 1 victory, focusing on the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The Good: Jordan Love and Aaron Jones
All eyes were on Jordan Love Sunday afternoon as he made his first start as QB1 of the Packers. He
was efficient all game, finishing 15/27 with 245 yards, 3 TD’s and a 123.2 passer rating. Love was mostly good on plays where he had to be, making big throw after big throw on 3rd and 4th downs. The fourth-year quarterback out of Utah State completed seven of his nine third-down throws. On top of that, Love also completed a 35-yard touchdown throw to Aaron Jones on 4th and 3 during the 3rd quarter, fully turning the tide of the game.
Speaking of Aaron Jones, the star running back who goes by the nickname “Showtyme” made sure to put on a show in his season debut. After a slow first half on offense, the Packers opened the 2nd half relying heavily on the 28-year-old from El Paso. After taking a screen 51 yards downfield, Jones plunged into the end zone on 3rd and goal to extend the lead to 17-6. He finished the day with 127 all-purpose yards and 2 TD’s. He gave the Packers offense life when it was needed most and was the catalyst for the eventual blow out to come.
The Bad: Bears O-Line
Throughout the afternoon, The Bears exhibited signs of struggle on offense, specifically up front. It can either be credited to the Packers defensive line, or the fact that the Bears offensive line just isn’t good enough. Early in the 1st quarter, the Bears were stopped on back-to-back QB sneak plays on 3rd and 4th down, with little to no push from the line. They continued to shoot themselves in the foot with multiple false start and holding penalties. Justin Fields had to scramble and improvise on virtually every passing play. Luckily for the Bears he is a tremendous playmaker and was able to improvise on the fly to give Chicago a fighting chance. At the end of the day, it wasn’t enough as the Bears continued to struggle and gave up 4 sacks. Chicago did make efforts to improve in the off-season by signing Nate Davis in free agency, and drafting Darnell Wright from Tennessee. It was thought that the revamped line would look much improved, but in Week 1 it was anything but that. The Bears were ranked as a bottom level team in 2022 in regard to O-line play, and that trend seems to be carrying over to 2023.
The Ugly: Key Injuries
The Packers entered the week dealing with key injuries. Those of which that were most notable included the teams’ top receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. Both wideouts who are now in their second seasons were dealing with hamstring issues. Watson was ruled out on Friday, and Doubs was listed as questionable and a game-time decision. Luckily, Doubs played in Chicago, and scored two touchdowns. The Packers injury luck seemed to get worse as the game continued, losing Aaron Jones in the 3rd quarter to- you guessed it, a hamstring injury. Jones said after the game that the injury isn’t serious, and that keeping him out for the rest of the game was precautionary. Later in the 4th quarter, Quay Walker injured his ankle getting tackled in the end zone after scoring a pick-6 on Justin Fields. Shortly after, rookie Jayden Reed suffered a knee injury from contact with a Bears defender. The Packers are optimistic that they will be okay, but it remains to be something to monitor going forward.