The Green Bay Packers got the 2023 NFL season off to a strong start with a 38-20 road win over the Chicago Bears. Green Bay scored on their first drive of the season and never trailed in the game. Jordan Love threw three touchdown passes while the defense did a good job of shutting down Chicago especially on third downs. Quay Walker came up with an important pick-six to put the game away in the fourth quarter. Here are 10 things we learned from the Packers 38-20 win over the Chicago Bears:

First Thing We Learned in the Packers Win: Jordan Love Handled the Pressure Well

Love made his first start since taking over for Aaron Rodgers and proved the moment wasn’t too big for him. All eyes were clearly on the Utah State alum but if he was nervous, he didn’t show it, leading the Packers to a touchdown on their first drive of the game.

Love finished the game by completing 15-of-27 passes for 245 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. His quarterback rating was 123.2.

While he played well, Love was far from perfect. He missed a few passes and threw a couple that could have been picked off. But he came through when the team needed it most in clutch situations that kept drives alive.

Love still has more to work on, but his first game as the team’s starter was encouraging and featured a lot to build on. He also has the confidence of his teammates.

Second Thing We Learned: The Pass Rush Got the Job Done

Bears quarterback Justin Fields was under pressure for most of the game and it clearly hampered his ability to pass the ball downfield.

The Packers officially finished the game with four sacks, but they were forcing Fields to rush his throws, to hit his check down receivers and to scramble on a consistent basis.

Devonte Wyatt led the way with 1.5 sacks while rookies Karl Brooks and Lukas Van Ness each recorded their first career NFL sacks. Kenny Clark was credited with half a sack.

As a team, the Packers had six quarterback hits to go along with the sacks, double the Bears total.

Rashan Gary also looked good in his return and was quick off the snap, but his sack was nullified by a penalty.

Third Thing We Learned in the Packers Win: Aaron Jones Remains a Vital Part of the Offense

The Packers offense went through Aaron Jones on the first drive. They gave Jones the ball five times and he gained 24 yards and the drive ended in a touchdown.

But head coach Matt LaFleur got away from Jones after that, and he didn’t handle the ball anymore in the first half. The offense didn’t score until the very end of the half when they booted a field goal.

LaFleur admitted he needed to feed Jones the ball more often and he did on the first drive of the second half. Jones touched the ball five times on that eight-play drive and gained 68 of the 75 yards during that possession including a 51-yard screen pass and the one-yard touchdown run that put the Pack ahead 17-6.

Jones suffered a hamstring injury and didn’t return to the game, but the running game was clearly less dynamic without him in the lineup. Assuming Jones is healthy, LaFleur must make sure he keeps him involved in the offense on a consistent basis.

Fourth Thing We Learned: The Packers Won Third and Fourth Downs

While the Packers never trailed in this game and led comfortably for the last 25 minutes, statistically, the game was close to even. The Packers gained only 18 more total yards than the Bears, 329 to 311.

Some of the Bears yards came in garbage time after the outcome was already decided, but one big reason the outcome was rarely in doubt in the second half was the Packers dominance on third and fourth down conversions.

The Packers offense converted on 9-of-16 third downs (56 percent) while the Bears were just 3-of-13 (23.1 percent). Both teams were 1-of-2 on fourth downs.

That means when it was time to keep drives alive, the Packers were much more successful on both sides of the ball than the Bears.

One important moment came on the opening drive of the game when the Bears didn’t convert on both a 3rd-and-1 and a 4th-and-1 opportunity. The Packers took over at the Chicago 40 and scored on their first drive to take the early lead.

Fifth Thing We Learned in the Packers Win: The Run Defense Looked Better

The Packers run defense has struggled for many years now, but they looked better against the Bears. Chicago is a run-first team, but the Packers run defense held them in check. Chicago’s three running backs combined for 63 yards on 19 carries or just 3.3-yards per carry.

Fields ran nine times for 59 yards, but his longest run was just 10 yards, so the defense prevented him from long gains with his feet. Most of those runs were scrambles rather than planned runs. This shows the defense pressured Fields throughout the game.

Joe Barry indicated the defense would be more aggressive and try to penetrate and disrupt the running game. They were successful for most of the game in Week 1.

Sixth Thing We Learned: Anders Carlson Had a Strong First Game

Rookie kicker Anders Carlson struggled with consistency in training camp and in the preseason, but he was perfect on five extra points and booted a 52-yard field goal before the half that increased the Packers lead to 10-6 at the intermission.

Carlson’s kickoffs also had good distance. Two of his six kickoffs were touchbacks, one went to the goal line and two more to the one-yard line. The final kick was fielded at the 12.

Overall, this was a strong start for the Packers rookie kicker.

Seventh Thing We Learned in the Packers Win: Clock Management Remains a Problem

The Packers have had issues with clock management since LaFleur became the head coach. This continued in Week 1 in Chicago.

Just before the half, the Packers wasted nearly 20 seconds before finally calling timeout with four seconds left and kicking a 52-yard field goal.

Proper clock management by LaFleur and Love could have given the team at least two more plays and a chance to either get the ball to the end zone or give Carlson an easier field goal attempt. Thankfully, the 52-yard boot was good, but this could have cost the Pack if Carlson missed the kick, or the game was closer.

Eighth Thing We Learned: Romeo Doubs Is Jordan Love’s Go-To Receiver

When Love was in a clutch situation, the first receiver he looked for tended to be Romeo Doubs. Obviously, Doubs took on a bigger role because Christian Watson was injured and could not play, but Doubs caught four passes to lead the team.

Two of those passes went for touchdowns. Another gained 13 yards on a 3rd-and-13 situation to keep the Packers first touchdown drive alive.

It’s still early, but Love appears to have a lot of trust in Doubs and seems to look for him first when he needs to keep drives alive.

Ninth Thing We Learned in the Packers Win: The Offensive Line Played Well

The Packers offensive line did a good job in both pass protection and run blocking. While Josh Myers struggled a bit early, the unit was stout and permitted only one sack and three quarterback hits all game. Love generally had time to look for his second and even third options downfield on many plays. He usually took advantage of the time he had to locate an open man.

The Packers only gained 92 yards rushing for the game, but when it mattered most, Jones was able to pick up key yards. A.J. Dillon gained only 19 yards on 13 carries, but Patrick Taylor was effective when trying to run out the clock, averaging 4.4-yards on five carries when everyone knew he was getting the ball.

The Packers offensive enjoyed a strong start to the season.

Tenth Thing We Learned: The Rivalry Is Heating Up

Before this game, Bears fans were excited at the prospect of ending the Packers eight-game winning streak in the series. They were thrilled they didn’t have to face Rodgers anymore and figured they could change the complexion of the rivalry with Love under center.

Love proved them wrong, and the Packers won comfortably in this game with offense, defense and special teams enjoying solid performances.

There was a scuffle late in the first period when Jaire Alexander made a clean hit on Fields before he ran out of bounds, but the Bears took exception. Chase Claypool went after Alexander and was called for a personal foul and for some reason, Slaton was also called for one for defending his teammate who was outnumbered on the Chicago sideline.

The intensity level seems to be ramping up again in this rivalry. Bears fans booed their team’s disappointing performance and many left early.

The Packers continue to beat the Bears and got the 2023 season off to a successful start.



Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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