Lack of a pass rush? Check.
Poor pass protection? Check.
Taking checkdowns over chances down field? Check.
An offseason of hype around a team that underwent major roster construction was quickly deflated in a 38-20 defeat, the Bears’ 11th straight dating back to October 2022.
Even without Aaron Rodgers, the best quarterback once again was on the visitor’s sideline. In Jordan Love’s second career start, the fourth-year QB threw for 245 yards, three touchdowns and did not turn the ball over. Green Bay scored on every trip inside the red zone.
“We competed at a high level on the practice field, we prepared ourselves the right way, we did all we could from a film study standpoint knowing what they were going to do,” Chicago cornerback Jaylon Johnson said. “Then not going out and executing, I think that hurts as a competitor trying to be the best at what we do.”
Here are the three biggest areas of concern for the Bears.
Penalties: Three false starts and two holding penalties on offense along with two special teams’ penalties felt uncharacteristic for the Bears, who were one of the league’s least-penalized teams in 2022.
Chicago’s first drive started at its own 12-yard line due to an unnecessary roughness penalty upon receiving the opening kickoff. That series ended when the Bears turned the ball over on downs at their own 40-yard line after failing to pick up a yard on third and fourth downs.
On Chicago’s first seven drives, 15 plays went for zero or negative yards. Penalties were a big factor in the Bears converting 23.1% of their third down attempts (3-of-13).
“I think kind of the moral of the story is we shot ourselves in the foot so many times,” Bears quarterback Justin Fields said. “Pre-snap penalties, false starts; we put ourselves in third-and-longs, third-and-15. It’s hard to convert on that for an NFL offense.”
Puzzling game plan: The Bears did not do enough to utilize DJ Moore, who they acquired in a blockbuster trade with Carolina. Moore is expected to be the legit No. 1 receiver the Bears have been lacking in recent years, but he was targeted twice in the second quarter, with both catches totaling 25 yards. The ball did not come his way again.
Top Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander lined up across from Moore on 59% of his routes, according to Next Gen Stats.
“It’s important for us to be able to get the ball to our best skill,” Eberflus said. “We have to do a better job there.
“Were the plays designed for [Fields] to go there sometimes? Yep. And they had some different coverages rolled up to him at times and different things that they were doing, which some teams are going to do, but we certainly have to find ways to feed DJ and feed our skill.”
Fields only had four passes travel at least 10 yards downfield. One of those plays resulted in a third quarter touchdown to Darnell Mooney. Another turned into a pick-six.
“We always want him to look downfield,” Eberflus said. “That’s an important piece to it. Certainly, before he scrambles and runs, we want him to take a look downfield to see open receivers if they are.
“We got to continue to work our scramble drill, which we work a lot of, because that’s where our explosive plays come from.”
No pass rush: Chicago only generated six pressures on Love. The Packers quarterback was blitzed on 16.7% of his dropbacks.
The Bears’ defensive line has six new faces, including three starters, and the lack of preseason reps for this unit to establish consistency with their rush plan was felt in Week 1.
“I think improving, having a better game plan and just chemistry,” defensive end DeMarcus Walker said of what needs to be done. “Our rushing is really chemistry, knowing what type of player I have next to me and then having to feel what he’s going to do and just react off it.”
What disappointed Eberflus most was allowing Green Bay to convert on nine of 16 third-down attempts.
“Those guys need to work with each other,” Eberflus said. “Because a lot of it is playing off each other. When a guy takes an inside move at D-tackle, then the other guy’s gotta cover. There’s a lot of things that go into that. That’s time on task. They’ve gotta really do that over and over.”