LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears came into the season thinking they were poised to start climbing after finishing at the bottom of the NFL.
Their opener couldn't have been more deflating. A day later, it still stung.
“Guys are disappointed, you know, pissed off,” running back Khalil Herbert said Monday. “You never want to get beat, especially at home, especially against a division rival. So that was kind of the mood today.”
The Bears' performance in a 38-20 loss to Jordan Love and the Green Bay Packers on Sunday was as disappointing as any in a season opener in recent memory.
Their revamped offense, with star receiver DJ Moore now in the mix, looked just like the old one. And the same goes for a defense with some key additions. Considering Chicago set a franchise record for losses on the way to a league-worst 3-14 record, that's obviously not a good thing.
Chicago lost its 11th straight game overall, and its 10th in a row against NFC North opponents.
“I think having that motivation from this loss will give us an extra push, an extra energy to go in and take that nasty taste out of our mouth,” cornerback Jaylon Johnson said. “But at the end of the day, it all comes down to Sunday.”
The kicking game. Cairo Santos made both his field goals, nailing a 47-yarder and 29-yarder. If mentioning the kicking game here seems like a stretch, well, what other options are there?
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The passing game. The Bears didn't trade the No. 1 pick in the draft to Carolina for Moore only to have him targeted two times. Yet that's exactly what happened.
“The target thing is always a thing that people talk about,” coach Matt Eberflus said. “It's important for us to be able to get the ball to our best skill (players). We need to do that. We need to do that as an offense. We have to do a better job there. Were the plays designed for him 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.”
They didn't get the blocking they needed from a line that has some new faces, including rookie right tackle Darnell Wright — the No. 10 overall pick in the draft — and veteran right guard Nate Davis. The Bears threw mostly screens and swing passes and took few shots downfield.
WR Darnell Mooney. Considering his reps were limited in training camp and he didn't have a catch in the two preseason games he played, Mooney had a decent opener with four receptions for 53 yards. His 20-yard touchdown in the third quarter was one of the few times the Bears threw downfield.
WR Chase Claypool. The Bears are counting on Claypool to be a solid third option behind Moore and Mooney. Claypool struggled in 2022 after a midseason trade from Pittsburgh, and he's not off to a good start this year. He was targeted twice in the opener and didn't catch a pass.
Eberflus said S Kyler Gordon (hand) was being evaluated.
2 — Moore caught both of the passes thrown his way, for 25 yards.
The Bears visit Tampa Bay on Sunday.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl
Andrew Seligman, The Associated Press