With a new era in the longest rivalry in professional football, the Chicago Bears put on a vintage display, and that was not a good thing.
They fell in the regular-season opener – at home – to the Green Bay Packers.
“S***, just let it soak in,” said safety Eddie Jackson in the locker room. “Get that feeling, let that feeling soak in. Don’t let it happen again. We still got a lot of work [to do], 16 games left. I feel like every man individually can do something to get better, to improve to help the team. So, just got to let that feeling soak in, man.”
All offseason, the talk coming out of Halas Hall was how ready this team was for Week 1 and, specifically, the Packers. It was supposed to be a new day with a different vibe emanating from the locker room.
Eddie Jackson to Bears Locker Room: ‘Let That Feeling Soak In’
Bears’ Eddie Jackson: ‘We Got Punched in Our Mouth’
The Bears defense allowed first-year starter Jordan Love to complete just 55.5% of his passes, though he threw for 245 yards and three touchdowns.
“This s*** tough,” Jackson, one of the team’s captains said. “It hurt.”
Chicago kept it close early, pulling with one point before Love led a field goal drive at the end of the half to give the Packers a 10-6 lead at the break. The Bears held the total yardage advantage 147-100 at that point only to see the Packers take a 229-164 second-half advantage.
“Not to say we glad we got it out the way now but we got punched in our mouth today. So it’s all about how we respond, how we bounce back, how we take this one,” Jackson said. “I feel like we got the type of team, we’re gonna take this the right way: just fuel to that fire, man. 16 more games left so just gotta come back and improve.”
Jackson found himself on the wrong end of a touchdown pass from Love to second-year wideout Romeo Doubs who was one of two Packers receivers with NFL experience on Sunday.
Justin Jones Echoes Eddie Jackson on Message to Bears Teammates
One of the Bears most vocal about the changing tides in the NFC North was defensive tackle Justin Jones who has never been shy about his belief in the guys around him. After the game, he took solace in the fact that this was just one game. He also echoed Jackson’s message going forward.
“We still got a regular routine that we’re going to follow. We’re gonna put our head down, we’re gonna keep working, man. We got 16 more games. It’s a lot of good teams who lost they first game and they still end up playing in the playoffs and still going for Super Bowls. So I’m not really worried about that. It’s just one game, and we gotta bounce back. We got a really good team here, man, I truly believe that.
“Keep working. We know what we got, we know what we’re building here. So don’t let one game ruin that. At the end of the day, we still got some good guys in here, some good players. And I know we’re going to come back next week and we’re going to ball.”
Bears on the Road in Weeks 2 and 3
The Bears will hit the road for their next two games, visiting Tampa Bay in Week 2 to face the Buccaneers, and then Kansas City to face the former head coach Matt Nagy and the Chiefs.
But Jackson says the busy travel schedule doesn’t make the task at hand any more difficult.
“It’s another opponent,” he said. “We want to go undefeated at home. Unfortunately, today it didn’t come out our way. But like I said, it’s a lot of things that’s been left on that field. This feeling is, it’s hurting. We gotta use it to get better, and don’t let this happen again.”