The Chicago Bears are coming off of a 2018 campaign in which they won 12 games and captured the NFC North division title, and, as a result, they entered 2019 with the fourth-best odds to win the Super Bowl.
You could see why.
They have a good head coach, a dominant defense and an offense that appeared to be on the rise.
Well, before Thursday night.
The Bears opened up their season against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on Thursday night and mustered just three points in a seven-point loss, drawing the boo-birds out of the crowd.
To make matters worse, Chicago didn’t register a point in the second half, and Mitchell Trubisky threw an interception in the end zone late in the fourth quarter (to former Bears safety Adrian Amos, of all people) to essentially seal the game.
Let’s not sugarcoat anything: Chicago’s offense looked absolutely brutal.
Trubisky completed just 57.8 percent of his passes and posted a passer rating of 62.1. The offensive line allowed five sacks. Mike Davis and David Montgomery combined for 37 yards on the ground.
It was downright ugly, and it has to be somewhat concerning moving forward, and this is coming from someone who picked the Bears to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
The thing is, I thought Chicago’s offense would actually be better this year.
Now, to be fair, the Packers played an outstanding defensive game. They made numerous improvements to their defense over the offseason, and it showed.
But we can’t pin all of this on Green Bay’s defense. This also had to do with the Bears’ offense, which was thoroughly anemic and was a far cry from even last year’s group that ranked 21st in the league in yards (but ninth in scoring).
We have to address the elephant in the room that is Trubisky.
I won’t go as far to talk about how the Bears chose him ahead of Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson two years ago, because Trubisky was widely considered the best quarterback prospect heading into the 2017 NFL Draft, and hindsight draft criticism is generally bush league.
But man; he really has been disappointing thus far.
We all cut him a break during his rookie campaign, as he threw for just 2,193 yards, seven touchdowns and seven picks in 12 starts, and last year, when he finished with 3,223 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, we said he showed growth. And you know what? He did.
Still, it wasn’t good enough, and the hope was that 2018 was just a stepping stone for Trubisky.
We’re just one game into 2019, so there is plenty of time for him to turn things around, but it isn’t looking too good.
And as for that Bears running game that was so interesting going into the season? It barely even got off the ground on Thursday evening, and Tarik Cohen didn’t even get a carry, which was weird.
Also, what was a solid offensive line last season was simply brutal, as the Packers linebacking corps lived in the backfield, applying ample pressure to Trubisky and shutting off the rush at the point of attack.
See, if the Bears allowed 28 points or something and lost in that fashion, I wouldn’t be as concerned, because you would know that it was just an outlier and that the Chicago defense would rebound.
But the Bears’ offense was a concern for many coming into the year, and those concerns were realized in Week 1.
Chalk it up to a lack of preseason reps or opening night jitters or an improved Green Bay defense or whatever, but there is no doubt that Thursday evening’s effort was scary for Chicago fans.
Now, the Bears need to rebound fast, or else their preseason Super Bowl dreams might be dashed a heck of a lot quicker than anyone could have expected.