The first week of the season brought extreme highs and lows for the Chicago Bears as they saw their 20-0 lead vanish after another heroic comeback by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
Just looking at the game score, a 24-23 loss doesn’t look too disappointing, as it’s the closest the Bears have come to beating the Packers since they won 17-13 on Thanksgiving of 2015.
A young team going into Lambeau Field being led by a first-year head coach with new faces all over the field and nearly walking away with a victory is impressive.
They proved that this team is ready to compete and have the ability to win now.
There were positives that this team can build on.
Jordan Howard looked like more of a complete back than he ever has, Tarik Cohen was as electric as ever, and the newest members of the defense, Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith, shined when on the field.
That in itself was an issue, however.
Smith missed a substantial amount of time during his hold-out and that prevented him from being on the field throughout the majority of the game, but playing Nick Kwiatkoski more than him is inexcusable and cannot continue moving forward.
Mack was also on a “pitch count” as he is also learning the playbook and may not be at 100 percent game shape.
Expect this problem to correct itself as these two get more equipped with Vic Fangio’s game plan with each passing day.
Speaking of the playbook, Matt Nagy underwhelmed in his debut as head coach.
After an amazing first couple of drives that included a highlight play by newly acquired receiver Allen Robinson there wasn’t much to speak of on the offensive side of the ball when it came to creativity and productivity.
The play-calling was predictable and conservative, and honestly, there were times where it looked far too familiar to the John Fox era.
This isn’t very surprising, as the offense has been completely reconstructed with new receivers. Any time you get a group of young players together with a first-year coach, you’re going to hit some roadblocks and get in a rut.
This should improve in the upcoming weeks as the offense gains experience playing with each other, so expect this past week to be one of the worst offensive showings from this team.
It was disappointing to see how hard this team faded towards the end, but they showed a glimpse at how good they can be.
The defense gave up big plays, but overall, they looked solid given the circumstances of having to be on the field at an alarming rate.
Thankfully there is only one Aaron Rodgers in the league, and this defense was able to shut him down in the first half and were a dropped interception away from winning the game altogether.
Take a deep breath, Bears fans.
This season isn’t over because of one frustrating loss, Nagy wasn’t a bad hire and Mitch Trubisky, along with the offense as a whole, is going to continue to get better with more experience.
It’s all about how they respond Monday night, and there’s no reason to believe this team will be going anywhere but up.