Chicago Bears: No lead is safe, especially on the road

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears Week One loss against the Green Bay Packers serves as a harsh reminder that no matter what the scoreboard indicates, no lead is safe in the NFL.

A tale of two halves. The Chicago Bears experienced just that on Sunday night against their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers.

Everything went right in the first half of that game for first-year head coach, Matt Nagy’s team. From marching down the field for a touchdown in Mitch Trubisky‘s first offensive drive to having Khalil Mack making his presence felt defensively on whoever was playing quarterback in green and yellow, the Bears went into the locker room at half-time, leading 17-0.

Unfortunately, Aaron Rodgers, who injured his left leg in the second quarter, came back in the third quarter, ultimately leading his team to an astounding 24-23 comeback victory in the final minutes.

There can be plenty of finger-pointing on the Bears’ sideline over who’s responsible for their season-opening collapse.

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Kyle Fuller dropped what would have been a game-ending interception in Rodgers’ game-winning drive. Trubisky, after a hot start, fizzled in the second half, blowing an opportunity to lead the Bears to victory in the final minute of the game.

Nagy’s questionable offensive play-calling late in the game also hurt the Bears. Drawing up bizarre passing plays instead of running the ball more frequently to drain the clock to keep Rodgers off the field.

Ultimately, this blown lead was more about the Bears trying to preserve a big lead, rather than looking to extend it. A rookie head coach, guiding new cast-members on both sides of the ball, showing that they all have plenty to learn from as the season progresses.

The Bears demonstrated just how fun and exciting both their offense and defense can be when they’re in sync. Unfortunately, when one side struggles, that puts added pressure on the other to be even more efficient as the game progresses.

When the Bears’ defense was playing lights out for two and a half quarters against the Packers, Trubisky and the offense became way too complacent. Seemingly banking on the defense to remain in control for the whole game.

Taking a page out of former head coach, John Fox’s dull play-calling, Nagy seemingly departed from the creativity that was demonstrated in the first scoring drive. Especially not using the read option often as the game got tight.

Instead of putting Packers’ defenders on their toes, the home team sensed that once Aaron Rodgers came back, the Bears would show their true feelings that night. Playing nervously with a big lead on the road, in front of a loud crowd with a rookie head coach, knowing that Rodgers can propel the Packers to another improbable victory.

Sure enough, as the offense stalled in the second half, even more pressure was added on the defensive side to create some more first-half magic. And a tired, gassed out defense just couldn’t keep carrying the Bears running afloat, ultimately getting shredded apart in the final quarter. Even Mack’s performance dipped in the fourth quarter because of how tired he was from having to return to the field without much rest once the second half began.

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Just as the players are at fault for not executing down the stretch, the new-look coaching staff must learn to make adjustments on the fly better as the game progresses. The Packers’ coaching staff made plenty of offensive and defensive adjustments to counter the Bears’ early success. Their offensive adjustments, shifting around their linemen in particular, helped neutralize the Bears’ pass rush in the fourth quarter with the game on the line.

Overall, this was a good learning experience for the Bears. They can grow up from their Week One collapse, and be an actual force in the NFC North this season. Despite the loss, the Bears showed plenty of promise on both offense and defense. They just need to play a complete, 60-minute game, without being so complacent and conservative from here on out.