What we learned as Fields, offense struggle in loss vs. Packers originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
GREEN BAY, Wisc. – Ryan Poles said the Bears wanted to “take back the north” during his introductory press conference.
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers let them know Sunday at Lambeau Field that they have a lot of work to do.
Final: Packers 27, Bears 10
The Bears took an early 7-3 lead, but it was all Rodgers, Aaron Jones, and A.J. Dillon from that point on.
The Packers led 24-7 at halftime, and the Bears’ offense had no way of punching its way back into the game.
On the night, Justin Fields went 7-for-11 for 70 yards and an interception while adding a 3-yard rushing score. Running back David Montgomery was a bright spot, rushing for 122 yards on 15 carries in the loss.
Here’s what we learned from the Bears’ loss in Green Bay.
Rodgers is in his 18th NFL season. Veteran cornerbacks like Rodgers are notorious for picking on rookie cornerbacks, no matter how talented they are.
Sunday night was no exception.
Rodgers rarely looked Jaylon Johnson’s way. Why would he?
The Packers star continually went at rookie defensive back Kyler Gordon. Gordon, like many Bears defenders, struggled to diagnose Green Bay’s play-action, giving Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Sammy Watkins the edge on a number of snaps.
In the first half, Gordon allowed six completions, including a touchdown, as the Bears trailed 24-7. He gave up another long completion to Sammy Watkins in the second half.
Cornerbacks almost always struggle early in their NFL transition (Patrick Surtain Jr. notwithstanding).
Gordon is extremely talented, but there will be growing pains.
Luckily for the Bears, there are very few quarterbacks on the schedule who can pick on him the way Rodgers did Sunday.
Two-headed monster eats
We knew the Packers were going to lean on Jones and Dillon. After getting pasted by the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said as much.
The Bears had no answers for the Packers’ backfield tandem Sunday.
Green Bay ate the Bears alive with Pony Personnel (Dillon and Jones both on the field) in the first half. The Bears’ front four got a decent push on the first two drives, but the missed tackles piled up and Jones and Dillon ground them to dust.
In the first half, Dillon and Jones combined for 20 touches for 123 for the Packers’ 233 yards and two touchdowns.
The back-breaking moment for the Bears’ defense came midway through the second quarter. Trailing 10-7, the Bears had the Packers facing a second-and-28 after a Trevis Gipson sack. But Rodgers threw a quick pass to Romeo Doubs that gained 20 after several missed tackles. He hit Cobb for 9 on the next play for a first down.
Two plays later, Jones took a short pass from Rodgers and cruised 8 yards for the score as Dillon paved the way. That made it 17-7 and was pretty much all she wrote.
The Bears’ defense struggled to tackle, forced just one turnover (a botched handoff), and made too many mental mistakes against a team with way more talent. The Packers rushed for 203 yards on the night.
It also got little help from the offense …
Searching for a consistent offense
The Bears’ opening script was a thing of beauty. Fields drove the offense 71 yards on eight plays with the help of a flea-flicker and 38 yards from David Montgomery. The second-year quarterback finished off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.
It was pretty close to perfection.
The off-script Bears looked a lot different.
The offense put together four straight three-and-outs (and an end-of-half kneel down) following the opening drive. It took the Bears 15 plays between the opening touchdown and the next first down they picked up.
After an impressive opening series for Montgomery, he notched just two touches (-5 yards rushing, 7 yards receiving) for the rest of the half.
The Bears finally went back to the running game in the second half, and Montgomery picked up where he left off.
With the Bears trailing 24-10 in the fourth quarter, Montgomery tried to put the team on his back. The Bears started at their own 10-yard line when Montgomery went to work, picking up gains of 11, 14, and 28 to get the Bears inside the 10.
On third-and-goal from the 6, Fields took off to his right and was stopped inches before hitting the pylon. The Bears had to go for it and elected to run a QB power from the shotgun, but it was stopped short. The Bears challenged the call, but it was upheld and the rally ended there.
The offense was behind the sticks for much of the night. There were drops, missed assignments, penalties, and very few explosive plays. The Bears’ offense had moments but lacked the consistency and rhythm needed to beat an elite team on the road.
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